Kia has had a gala opening in India and the South Korean automaker has managed to establish a strong image among Indian Audience with a singular product in the form of Kia Seltos. Under usual circumstances, it is tough for a new manufacturer to grasp the Indian consumer space so intensely in the first move but Kia seems to have worked all the kinks out. How impressed are the Indian consumers with the Kia Seltos you ask? 18,000 units a month high and an average unit sales number of around 7000-8000 units.
This means that Kia Seltos, despite being the newest kid on the block has managed to climb to the top of the food chain. The chief rival of Kia Seltos, MG Hector has also recently forayed into the Indian Automotive hemisphere. MG Hector has also received loads of praises and awards for its value for money proposition and the immense number of modern features on board. It is genuinely the vehicle to get if you want the biggest vehicle in the segment-“The Baddi Gaddi Feel” if you may.
MG Hector even though is a just as great an offering as the Seltos, still manages to trail behind the Seltos in terms of sales figures but the recent announcement of a newer seven-seater MG Hector Plus is already doing the rounds and is all set to snatch the throne from the Seltos-or is it?
Kia as a brand has recently launched its “Baddi Gaadi” in the form of Kia Carnival which in all honesty is a complete package. The Carnival is unlike anything else in its price segment when it comes to power, handling characteristics, unbelievable space, and pages of technological features that blow something like the Innova Crysta out of the water.
Yes, the Carnival is more expensive than the Crysta but in our humble opinion, even the base model of the Carnival leaves the Innova Crysta in the dust. And let's not forget the Tata Gravitas a.k.a Buzzard which is also going to joining the gang, soon. It will share the underpinnings with that of Tata Harrier albeit with an extended rear overhang for the third row.
It is to be realized that no matter how great of a vehicle the Carnival is, pricing remains a key aspect when it comes to wooing Indian audiences and that’s where the likes of MG Hector Plus comes in. It is pertinent for Kia to bring to market a vehicle that could go toe to toe with this new 7 seater offering from MG to retain its crown as the king of this segment. It is therefore not a surprise that Kia is working on a 7 seater version of Seltos to take on this very threat.
It is speculated that just as the present Seltos and Creta share underpinnings, the Seltos 7-seater could very well be derived from the 7-seater variant of Hyundai Creta that has been spotted testing in South Korea. Hyundai and Kia have yet to confirm the authenticity of these speculations but the probability of 7-seater variants for the Seltos and Creta seems pretty high.
We do have certain reservations about how Kia will manage to fit a third row in the compact Kia Seltos since there isn’t enough space for it in the 5-seater variant. MG Hector, on the other hand, has the largest boot capacity in its segment and it is pretty clear that there is more than enough room to plonk in the 3rd row of seats and call it a day.
But for Kia, this excursion will be a bit more complicated. It is also presumed that these new 7-seater offerings from both these manufacturers would feature a significant price markup from their five-seater counterparts and they should offer a couple more features to help offset this cost difference. The 7-seater variant of Kia Seltos could also get a new name to help isolate it from its 5-seater version.
The 7-seater variant of the Seltos is expected to be offered with the same range of engines and transmissions options that are available with the current 5-seater model with no significant power bump to offset the added weight. The presence of this new 7-seater Seltos variant also means that it would become quite difficult for the consumers to choose their own perfect Seltos since even the current 5 seater variant can be had in mind-boggling 24 configurations, all thanks to the three different engine options and four different transmission options which should all get translated to the 7-seater variant as well.
Kia, therefore, has entered the Indian Automotive scene with a very robust plan of action in mind and is planning on spoiling MG Hector Plus’s plan of turning the tables in its favour. The introduction of both of these seven-seater variants would be a cause of concern for vehicles like the XUV500 and the Innova Crysta since these new vehicles will leech off the potential customers of these established offerings.
It is also a fact that many people would look at both the Seltos 7-Seater and the MG Hector Plus as a more cost-effective way to get a larger than life experience similar to the likes of the Endeavour, Fortuner and the Alturas G4 minus the off-road ability. These two vehicles could prove to be game-changers for the Rs. 15-25 lakh bracket and in our opinion find a lot of takers.