Kia is here! Showcases India-specific SP Concept
The global debut of the SP Concept marks the entry of the brand on Indian soil
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.