Kia and MG

Ammar Master, Senior Manager, Asia Pacific Vehicle Forecasts

24 August 2020

Kia and MG aim big in India

“The Sonet fills a need in the growing SUV market, in India and further afield, and will attract a wider number of consumers to the Kia brand”, declared Kia Motors Corporation President and CEO Ho Sung Song in a press release on 7 August.

This statement coincided with the unveiling of the production-ready Sonet Sub-Compact SUV to the world. First shown in concept form at the Delhi Auto Expo in February 2020, the model is due to make its global market debut in India by September.

Kia is among the last of the major brands to enter the Indian market. Having set up a fairly extensive retail network, the OEM began its Indian journey with the attractively priced Seltos Sub-Compact SUV last August. By the end of October, wholesales of the model had neared 27,000 units, allowing it to break into the top-ten SUV chart.

And with sales of 45,000 units in the first half of this year, the Seltos is currently the top-ranked SUV in the market, ahead of the Hyundai Venue (29,000 units) and the once venerable and erstwhile market leader, the Maruti-Suzuki Vitara Brezza (28,000 units).

Kia’s second model, the Carnival, arrived in February 2020, but sales are unlikely to be very high, at an estimated 4-6,000 units/year in the long term.

The Sonet, however, is set to add 100-140,000 units to Kia’s annual volume in India over the longer term. And we anticipate the addition of a mainstream B-segment MPV next year, followed by two Sub-Compact Cars by 2024.

Looking ahead, Kia’s overall volume in India is forecast to rise from 128,000 units this year to 357,000 units by 2030.

Also aiming big in India is SAIC-owned MG Motors. The brand made its market entry in July 2019 with the Hector Compact SUV, which was the 10th bestselling SUV in the first six months of 2020. Following in its footsteps this year were the electric E ZS in February and the Hector Plus (the 3-row 6-seat version of the Hector) in July, while the Gloster Midsize SUV is due out imminently.

MG will, no doubt, be adding more models to its Indian product line over the next few years, taking its annual volume from an estimated 16,000 units in 2020 to 72,000 by 2030.

Based on the above outlook, we predict that Kia will become the third-largest Passenger Vehicle seller by 2030, behind Suzuki Group and sister brand Hyundai. MG, meanwhile, should rank 10th in India’s Passenger Vehicle market within that timeframe.