Focus remains firmly on utility vehicle segment in India: Kia, ET Auto
South Korean automaker Kia is focussing on the utility vehicle segment in the Indian market as it remains bullish on the long-term growth potential of the vertical in the country, according to a senior company official. The automaker, which sells products like Seltos, Sonet and Carens in the market, also plans to keep on offering diesel trims on its models with demand remaining robust for such variants in the fast-growing sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment.
Buoyed by its presence in the utility vehicle segment, the company expects its sales to grow by around 10 per cent this year.
It sold 2,54,556 units in 2022.
“Our focus firmly remains on multi-purpose vehicles and sports utility vehicles,” Kia India National Head- Sales and Marketing Hardeep Singh Brar told PTI in an interaction.
The company remains bullish on the SUV and MPV segments and does not have any plans to introduce sedans in the market, he noted.
Brar noted that the contribution of the SUV segment in the overall passenger vehicle sales has gone up to 43 per cent in 2022 from 24 per cent in 2018.
The multi-purpose vehicle segment’s contribution has also grown from 5 per cent in 2018 to 9 per cent in 2022, he noted.
On the other hand, sedans used to contribute 19 per cent to the overall PV industry in 2018 which went down to 10 per cent in 2021, he said.
Due to some product launches last year, it has grown to 11 per cent last year, Brar said. Similarly, the contribution of hatchbacks has come to 48 per cent in 2022 from 65 per cent in 2018, he said.
When asked about diesel cars, Brar noted that diesel trims of Sonet and Seltos currently contribute around 30-35 per cent to the overall sales of the two models.
“When you look at the industry perspective, diesel vehicles currently contribute almost 19 per cent of the overall sales. The diesel contribution however remains robust in the SUV vertical,” he noted.
Brar said the contribution of diesel cars in the industry sales has grown from 17 per cent in 2020 to 19 per cent in 2022.
“The numbers show an increasing contribution by diesel vehicles to overall industry sales. Thus, we will continue with the diesel powertrains,” he stated.
On sales outlook this year, Brar said: “We foresee 10 per cent growth for Kia in CY2023. It would be around 5-6 per cent for the industry.”