KIA bites into Hyundai’s slice of the cake
was the first company to make India one of its global manufacturing hubs for small cars and from day one its plants have operated at full capacity, with the company tweaking production to meet domestic and global demands. I’ve driven quite a few
Indian-made cars abroad and was pleasantly surprised when I drove the i10 in the UK in the heyday of the scrappage schemes and the i10’s selling like hotcakes. However, Hyundai needs more of that capacity for the domestic market as sales have risen steadily.
Now that the company has announced a slew of new models including the electric Kona, it seems that Hyundai will have to expand its showrooms and its building capacity. Maruti-Suzuki has added the Nexa range and smartly managed to find additional space for its increasing model portfolio. That may be one way to go. But Hyundai already has a premium brand in the form of Genesis that it will be launching in India and so it might have to go for a three-tier strategy. It will be interesting to see how it deals with this challenge but in the meantime our Top Story focuses on the slew of model launches the company has planned by the turn of this decade.
The other major challenge though is expected to come from KIA Motors and we drove two of the company’s cars expected to be sold in India and also compared KIA’s Sportage with Hyundai’s Tucson. From what we’ve seen this far, while most of the KIA cars are ahead of its sibling’s in design and style, Hyundai may still be ruling the roost when it comes to interiors and the former will have to up its act if it has to even challenge Hyundai, leave aside Maruti-Suzuki. Apart from this we pit the pseudo-SUVs Ford Freestyle, Honda WR-V and Hyundai i20 Active against one other in our road test and ride BMW’s first India-made Beemers and come away mighty impressed. Finally we have the new scooter, Burgman Street from Suzuki and all the regular features also in this issue as we complete another eventful year of the magazine. Till our next issue, which will be the 3rd anniversary of the magazine, drive safe and always ride with a helmet on.