Kia Motors India is confident of the strong volume growth in the Indian market despite the current slowdown and onset of competition in the SUV market, a top official of the company said.
The late entrant in India’s passenger vehicle market has been encouraged by the strong order book of the Seltos and of the recently launched Carnival, a premium multi-purpose vehicle, which is priced between Rs 24-33.94 lakh.
Bookings for the Carnival have risen to about 3,500 units, up from 1,410 units on January 21, when the company opened bookings, said Manohar Bhatt, head sales and marketing at Kia Motors India.
“We have been pleasantly surprised with the response to the Carnival bookings,” said Bhatt. Close to 70 per cent bookings for the model are for the top end. Bhatt claims the company is creating a new segment with the model, which is designed like a Limousine.
Available in multiple seat configurations, the top end (eight-seater) has stretchable seats where two people can sleep. It also boasts of a host of features like climate control, remote start/stop to name a few.
The profile of those who have booked the vehicle is mixed. It includes people looking at comfort for the entire family, said Bhatt. The Carnival will compete with Mahindra Alturas, Innova Crysta, among others. Puneet Gupta, associate director at IHS Markit, said with very few models in the segment, the market potential is untapped.
Meanwhile, the Seltos that was launched last July has been garnering bookings. At present, it has got a backlog of 30,000 units and has a waiting of two-and-half to three months, said Bhatt. He conceded that with the launch of Hyundai’s new generation Creta, the volume run may slow a bit but he isn’t worried as greater competition bodes well for the market.
Kia plans to expand the sales network from the current 240 to 300 by year end.