Kia Seltos' success built on strong focus on 4 Ps: Manohar Bhat

Kia Motors India will create a new segment with MPV Carnival: Manohar Bhat
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Kia Motors India's second product roll-out in the country will be the Carnival MPV that is expected to be unveiled at the 2020 Auto Expo

The Indian automotive industry may be in the ‘slowdown’ lane, but not Kia Motors India. The South Korean carmaker has literally taken the Indian market by storm notwithstanding the prevailing downbeat market sentiments with its blockbuster offering – Kia Seltos. The Kia Seltos has been a big hit with the Indian consumers ever since its commercial roll-out in August this year – it has generated cumulative sales of over 40,000 units since its launch here in August 2019. What’s more, the big-bang sales of Seltos has propelled Kia Motors India as the country’s fifth largest car manufacturer – the feat is indeed creditable when one takes into consideration the fact that it has managed to attain this position with a just single product in a span of four months. 

Priced between Rs 9.6 lakh and Rs 16.99 lakh, the Seltos is pitted in India against the likes of the MG Hector, Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV500, and the Hyundai Creta.

The company’s Anantapur plant is Andhra Pradesh has an annual capacity of churning out 3,00,000 units. And the start of the second shift at the plant means more busy days going future. “Our focus is on reducing customer waiting time and the start of our second shift at our Anantapur plant is in line with that. No automotive company has kickstarted a second shift within three months of commissioning a new plant. Some variants of Seltos have longer waiting periods and we want to ensure our customers don’t have to wait,” said Manohar Bhat, Head – Sales & Marketing, Kia Motors India.

The Kia Motors India senior official attributed the success of Seltos to meticulous planning that went in bringing out the product to India. “We accorded strong focus on the 4 Ps – product, price, place (network) and promotion (marketing) after carrying out a close study of what Indian customers wanted. In fact, we are the first new manufacturer to have the largest network (260 touchpoints). We are in for the long haul and want to give customers an assured feeling,” he noted.

In line with its commitment to roll out one product every six months, Kia Motors India is being watched with a great deal of anticipation with the 2020 Auto Expo only a couple of months away. Riding high on the tremendous response of the Seltos, the company is all set to roll out its second product in the Indian market –  the Carnival MPV that is expected to be unveiled at the 2020 Auto Expo. “We are sticking to our roadmap of launching one product every six months. We will be creating a new segment with the roll-out of the Carnival MPV  – it’s a product that has a global reputation for its premiumness. You will have to have wait and watch for the 2020 Auto Expo to know everything about the Carnival MPV,” Bhat said.

Electric vehicles are steadily generating buzz across the country and Kia Motors India is closely watching the developments before hopping onto the EV bandwagon. “Look, buzz is one thing and actual demand is quite another. Demand will come when prices are competitive and adequate infrastructure is in place for EVs to thrive. Prices of battery and other costs of EVs have to come down for them to be affordable for Indian consumers. We have EV products for the global market and we can always bring it to the Indian market when demand is there,” he pointed out.

The Kia Motors India senior official shared his perspective on the current slowdown in the Indian automotive industry. “Any slowdown is bad for every manufacturer – BS VI is just a contributory factor and not the only factor for the current slowdown. If one conducts a co-relation analysis of last fifty years, car demand has always been directly linked to GDP growth, so if GDP growth falls, car demand will also fall.

He was clear that the various industry-boosting measures initiated by the government will surely lift market sentiments. “The government is taking steps to address the slowdown and we expect some semblance of growth normalcy by early 2020.”