Kia is coming all guns blazing to India and will begin its innings with a three car line-up. It is building a factory at Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh which will be completed in early 2019 with production slated to begin by mid-2019. The company is investing 1.1 billion USD in the India operations and when the factory goes online it will provide employment to over 3000 people in the region.
In a timeline expected to be around 18 months, the first car to roll out of the factory will be the production version of the SP SUV concept that was showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo. This is a D-segment SUV and will be their rival for the likes of the Jeep Compass, Skoda Karoq (When it arrives here), Hyundai Tucson and the production version of the Tata H5X.
This will be followed by a C-segment sedan which will rival the likes of the Honda City, Hyundai Verna and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. Rounding off the initial three will be a small hatchback in the entry-level B-segment where it will take on the Tata Tiago, Maruti Celerio and the Maruti Wagon R. However, its main rival will, of course, be the new B-segment hatchback from Hyundai which may possibly revive the Santro moniker.
On the face of things, each of these segments that Kia will venture into is growing in terms of numbers. The success of the Compass has revived interest in the D+ segment while graduating buyers have moved from B-segment hatchbacks to C-segment sedans. In the case of the small hatchback, the whole segment has seen a growth thanks to entry-level buyers coming in with bigger budgets and demand for larger cars.