South Korea's Kia Motors, which became the fifth bestselling carmaker in the Indian market after just two years of launch, will roll out its entry-level mass-market electric car from India in 2024-25, reports suggest.
The development of a small SUV, code-named AY, has already begun and is expected to be unveiled in three years, according to The Economic Times.
The vehicle, aimed at emerging markets, will be based on a flexible platform, letting Kia produce a mass-market petrol SUV alongside the EV, sources told the publication.
In the meantime, Kia reportedly plans to get its foot in the EV door by introducing its premium offering, the EV6, to India sometime this year.
Kia's parent company Hyundai, the third most popular carmaker in India, is also considering bringing its Ioniq 5 EV to India in either 2022 or 2023, according to reports.
The Ioniq 5 and the EV6, which share a platform, have both been crowned car of the year 2022 by different organisations.
What's Next for Kia?
Kia India was established in 2017 and started manufacturing in 2019. Within two and a half years, it has managed to become the fifth best-selling car brand in the country, beating the likes of Toyota and Honda.
The company sold roughly 1,81,000 cars in 2021, up 30 percent from the 1,40,000 it sold in 2020, according to Rushlane. It has already exported over one lakh vehicles manufactured in the country.
The problem is, homegrown manufacturers have a head start when it comes to electric four wheelers. Tata has cornered most of the market, and Mahindra has plans to roll out no less than 16 EVs within five years.
Kia wants to establish a presence in the EV market by importing an assembled premium car (the EV6), and use the next two years to build the required infrastructure before launching its mass market EV, ET reported.
In March, at a virtual event, Kia CEO Ho Sung Song laid out a global EV roadmap, targeting 14 pure electric models by 2027, and annual sales of 4 million vehicles by 2030, most of which will have electrified or pure electric powertrains.
Hyundai already has the Kona EV on offer in India and has announced plans to invest Rs 4,000 crore to launch six EVs in India by 2028.
Maruti Suzuki and Toyota are also expected to unveil their first EV offerings in India in about two years, according to the publication.
Tata's Head Start
Among the top 10 automakers in India, Tata Motors has shown the biggest leap from 2020 to 2021. It ended 2021 with a near twofold increase in sales and a 3 percent jump in market share.
Part of this success can be attributed to Tata Nexon and Tigor EVs. The automaker struck gold by being the first to offer affordable and practical EVs to the Indian market.
The two models have been the top selling EV four wheelers in the country for months and, in February, accounted for over 96 percent of the market share, according to HT Auto.
In March, Tata Motors said that it planned to invest Rs 15,000 crore in the EV segment in the next five years and work on 10 new electric models spanning different price points, PTI reported.
In the premium segment, Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover on Wednesday, 13 January, reported its second successive quarter-on-quarter recovery with retail sales growing by 13 percent, reported Business Insider.
What is startling is that with 1,28,469 vehicles sold in the last quarter, 53 percent of the sales came from EVs, which include Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.
With Tata and Mahindra planning to flood the entry-level EV space in the near future, Japanese and Korean brands could face a tough time obtaining a sizeable chunk of the EV market share.
(With inputs from The Economic Times, Business Insider, HT Auto, and Rushlane.)