Pic: Rishabh Prasad
The Kia Sportage SUV and Soul crossover have been spied on Indian roads. This is not the first instance where a Kia vehicle has been seen in India, as there have been sighting of the Korean cars in transit to countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan or Nepal.
However, what’s interesting in this picture is that the SUV is carrying West Bengal temporary plates which could mean that Hyundai’s sister brand, Kia, has begun testing its vehicles on Indian soil. There is no confirmation on this development however.
The Sportage SUV is one of Kia’s oldest models on sale globally. Currently in its fourth generation, it is a direct rival to Tucson. It also has the measure of the Tucson with smarter interiors and sportier styling. When it comes to India, the engine range is likely to be same as the Tucson's – that means a 2.0-litre diesel is likely to be the mainstay of the range.
The car seen behind the Sportage SUV is the Soul crossover. This model is unique to Kia with no equivalent in the Hyundai range. In its second generation currently, the Soul was heavily revised last year and now comes with a long list of equipment and safety features.
According to latest reports, Kia has been exploring an entry into the Indian market for several years.
The Korean carmaker is yet to identify a location for its first factory in India and it's only after this big hurdle is cleared that a formal announcement on its entry into India can be expected.
For now, the only official statement Kia has made on its India project is “We at Kia Motors are continually evaluating potential locations for overseas manufacturing facilities, including India, to secure additional engines for future growth. However, as of now, no concrete plans have been finalised.”
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Issue: 209 | Autocar India: January 2017
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