Would you pay BMW money for a Kia? With the launch of the EV6, Kia India’s most expensive automobile by far, that’s a question being discussed a fair bit. The EV6, after all, is priced at Rs 59.95 lakh for the RWD version (77.4kWh battery, 229hp), while the AWD car (77.4kWh battery, 325hp) comes in at Rs 64.95 lakh. That’s basically knocking on the doors of the i4, which comes in at Rs 69.90 lakh (ex-showroom) for the sole RWD model, which has an 83.9kWh battery pack and puts out 340hp.
So, in a country that accords the German luxury trio a higher prestige than even others like Jaguar and Volvo, it’s not surprising to see deliberations about the Kia’s price. What’s more, the i4 is very good value indeed. In an era where we see EV versions command quite a premium over ICE cars, BMW India has really priced i4 at Rs 70 lakh, or just Rs 4 lakh over the sporty M340i sedan. And remember, the i4 is a CBU and the M340i is locally assembled.
So, has Kia made a mistake with the EV6’s price? Going by online discussions, it may seem like it, but I think not. The car is very well equipped, performs exceptionally well and, on the whole, can genuinely take on the luxury EV players. It’s also bagged the 2022 European Car of the Year award. But what about brand equity? Has Kia been a little self-indulgent here? Again, I think not. Sure, the price is ambitious, but it’s a real smart play by Kia. Given the global popularity that the EV6 is currently enjoying, and coupled with the ongoing chip shortage, supplies of the EV6 are constrained and India has only 100 units allocated to it for this year. So Kia India isn’t under any real pressure to push a lot of units and can thus use this as a very good litmus test of the brand’s price elasticity.
The Korean firm does have very strong brand equity in India, but who wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to further strengthen it, and the EV6 is a fantastic opportunity to do so. Besides, there’s a lower-capacity version in the pipeline and the possibility of local assembly to make it more affordable. So yes, I really don’t think Kia has made a mistake with the price of the EV6; it’s simply using it as a brand builder.
And coming back to the BMW i4, does it merit a good look? We are yet to review it, but as things stand, it should definitely figure in your shortlist too. While nowhere near as spacious or practical as the Kia, it certainly comes across as better value, and being a BMW sedan, it’s bound to be fun to drive too. A classic case of different strokes for different folks.