Kia is here! Show­cases In­dia-spe­cific SP Con­cept

The global de­but of the SP Con­cept marks the en­try of the brand on In­dian soil

Evo India - - NEWS - WORDS by AJINKYA A NAIR

SIX­TEEN PROD­UCTS FROM ITS global port­fo­lio and an In­dian her­itage inspired SUV con­cept. No, no one who saw the Kia Mo­tors pavil­ion at the Auto Expo could ac­cuse this Korean car maker of a quiet en­try into In­dia. But the big­gest star at the pavil­ion was the Kia SP Con­cept, which is ex­pected to go on sale in 2019.

The SP Con­cept fol­lows a very dis­tinc­tive Kia de­sign lan­guage, start­ing with the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille at the front. The com­bi­na­tion of the wide stance, sporty and long hood pro­file and fu­tur­is­tic de­tails should work well in the pop­u­lar com­pact SUV seg­ment in In­dia.

The front fas­cia fea­tures sleek LED head­lamps and day­time run­ning lights on the bumper and lamps. The side pro­file of the SP Con­cept has blacked-out pil­lars, plas­tic cladding run­ning across the body and a white win­dow line. The tail lamps looked sim­i­lar to those on the Hyundai Creta.

Con­sid­er­ing Kia is Hyundai’s sis­ter com­pany, plat­form shar­ing is likely and un­der the dis­tinc­tive clothes are the un­der­pin­nings of the Creta. How­ever, the SP con­cept brings about a new di­rec­tion in de­sign. The con­cept also fea­tures a very dis­tinct set of large wheels, which might not make it to pro­duc­tion, along with a slightly raked roofline and a glasshouse that ta­pers around the C-Pil­lar. All this re­sults in a stun­ning ve­hi­cle which could very well be placed be­tween the Creta and Tuc­son.

De­tails about the SP or its pro­duc­tion ver­sion are of course not be­ing shared by Kia right now. How­ever, we ex­pect it to get the same 1.6-litre diesel and petrol units on the Creta and Verna with the op­tion of au­to­matic gear­boxes. It is un­likely that Kia will bring the 1-litre di­rect in­jec­tion tur­bopetrol that it has over­seas.

At the Expo, Kookhyun Shim, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and CEO, Kia Mo­tors In­dia (KMI), said, “Kia Mo­tors is de­lighted to en­ter In­dia, which is all set to cat­a­pult into the world’s fifth largest econ­omy. We at KMI are thrilled to start op­er­a­tions at such a favourable time, and ad­di­tional fore­casts pre­dict that In­dia will be amongst the world’s largest car markets in a few years. We are here in In­dia to be part of that suc­cess story, which has been put into mo­tion by pro­gres­sive gov­ern­ment poli­cies and de­ci­sion mak­ing. And we are here to win the trust and hearts of the peo­ple, while pro­vid­ing the coun­try with stylish and dif­fer­en­ti­ated mo­tor­ing op­tions.

Kia’s long term ob­jec­tive be­ing to repli­cate the suc­cess we have come to be associated with the world over.”

To en­sure that its ef­fort in In­dia is as big as its en­trance at the Expo, Kia has al­ready com­mit­ted a stag­ger­ing US$ 1.1 bil­lion (`7,082 crore) to­wards the set­ting up of its man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Andhra Pradesh. The fac­tory, once com­plete, will have a pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of 3 lakh units per an­num and is set to be­come op­er­a­tional in early 2019.

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