It may mean more competition for Suzuki, Honda and Toyota
The market is rife with talk that Kia is thinking of which cars to launch in Pakistan.
A source privy to the matter said that it was considering its compact midsize crossover SUV Sorento and Rio that have a hatchback and sedan model.
Kia has been assembling cars in Pakistan under green-field status, which it received following the government’s Auto Development Policy (ADP 2016-21). The government launched the policy to attract foreign investment and help increase competition in the auto sector, which was dominated by three Japanese companies for a long time.
The ADP 2016-21 policy ends in June 2021 and the models introduced by new companies, known as new entrants in the industry, will be considered for duty relaxations.
According to a source, all new companies will try to launch as many models as they can before the ADP 2016-21 policy ends.
Kia officials were tight-lipped and declined to share any details about models the company wants to launch.
According to JS Global Capital senior research analyst Ahmed Lakhani’s sources in Kia, the company wants to launch four new cars after the SUV Sportage, hatchback Picanto and minivan Carnival by the end of the 2021 fiscal year.
“According to my sources, Kia may launch three to four more models,” Lakhani said.
He added that his sources say, they may launch two more SUVs and a sedan.
“Sorento has 2500cc (equivalent engine) vehicle and we don’t have a direct competitor yet,” said another auto sector analyst, Shakaib Khan. “It is a seven-seater and it has three rows of seats. It is a medium-size crossover SUV. It is bigger than a Rush or Sportage but smaller than a Fortuner or a Prado.”
Khan did not think that the Sorento can hit the Toyota Fortuner market much as the latter is a proper SUV while the former is a crossover.
Khan says Sorento will have a better ride within the city but the Fortuner would be better for the off-road experience. This means that the Fortuner’s demand from the rural areas may not be affected but the Sorento could put a dent in urban demand.
Khan said that if Kia introduces the Rio hatchback model then it may get an edge in the market cornered by the Suzuki Swift, Toyota Passo or Vitz.
If the company chooses to launch the Rio sedan then it will compete with the Toyota Yaris, Honda City and Suzuki Ciaz.