The third-gen Kia Carnival was launched in India at the Auto Expo earlier this year. However, just a few months later, in June, the Korean automaker took the covers off the fourth-gen Carnival for international markets. While many would have hoped to see it in India, the company's top brass has now clarified that the India launch of the new model is not on the cards for now.
Kia has sold 3,812 units of the Carnival in the February-August 2020 period
Automaker plans to increase localisation of the current model with an improvement in demand
No plan yet to bring the New Carnival to the Indian market
Current Kia Carnival yet to realise full potential
The current Carnival's India debut in February, close to the coronavirus outbreak, has meant that the MPV has not sold in big numbers. Though the nationwide lockdown, which brought automotive sales to a grinding halt for weeks, has since been lifted in a phased manner, Kia has managed to move just 3,812 units of its flagship model till the end of August. "We launched the Carnival and timing-wise, it was just poor timing of COVID-19. That is why we couldn't do enough in the way of marketing and communication activities," commented Ho Sung Song, President and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation in an interaction with Autocar India.
Moreover, at a price of Rs 24.95-33.95 lakh (ex-showroom, India), the Carnival is a big-ticket item that could be seen by many as a discretionary purchase. The premium segment it is positioned in is expected to recover later than the budget-end of the market, owing to the significant economic toll of the ongoing health crisis. The car major is, however, confident of the sales momentum slowly building up once things begin to improve in the times to come. "The Carnival segment is, at the moment, limited to the demand of the market, but I believe that demand will increase in the future," said Song.
He further stated that the Carnival appeals to "the premium business people". The MPV is positioned in the niche above the Toyota Innova Crysta and is essentially aimed at buyers seeking a more luxurious experience. And since it has no direct competitors per say, the company boss is confident that the Carnival will be in "high demand in the segment in the future".
The existing MPV has been brought to our market as a CKD (completely knocked-down) unit, with the low levels of localization contributing to its high price. But as the demand picks up moving forward, the increased volumes will present a business case strong enough for Kia India to improve localization levels. “We can increase localisation of the parts because it depends on the kind of economic scale,” explained Song.
Kia’s CEO believes that the Carnival in India is just in its initial year and in time, the company will work on localising the model. He said, “Even on today’s Carnival, we’ll start the localisation one by one to make the scale of business and so we don’t have any plan for now to bring the new Carnival to the Indian market."
Current Kia Carnival already a feature rich offering
The 2021 Kia Carnival unveiled recently, sports a thoroughly revised design inside and out, and a larger footprint which liberates more space in the cabin. The equipment list has also been bumped up with kit like a digital instrument cluster, a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen, powered leg rest for the second-row, captain seats and more.
However, Song believes that the current model, which made its global debut back in 2014, packs in everything that discerning customers would come to expect from a car in this class. Notably, the range-topping, 7-seater Carnival Limousine does boast features like plush captain seats and dual 10.1-inch touchscreens for the second row passengers, Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated and powered driver’s seat, wireless charger, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with car-connectivity tech, cruise control, powered tailgate, dual sunroof and LED headlamps, to name a few.
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