South Korean automaker Kia intends to introduce new models, intensify the sales network and also build up production capacity to lessen the waiting period on the existing product range.

Lately, Kia is extremely optimistic about the long-term growth prospects of the Indian car market. South Korean automaker Kia plans to inaugurate new models, intensify its sales network and also build up manufacturing potential to lessen the waiting period on the existing product range, as per senior company officials. The automaker, which currently trades three products, Seltos, Sonet and Carnival, is assembling to drive a mid-sized multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in the country early next year as it foresees the market recuperating from the COVID-19 impact from the festive season this year.

As per the discussions in an interaction with PTI, Kia India Executive Director and Chief Sales and Business Strategy Officer Tae-Jin Park stated that they are right now concentrating on SUV and MPV portions and as part of that, we are looking at the probability of some kind of an MPV. So we are looking at that opportunity and preparing. With the COVID-19 situation worsening and affecting auto sales, Park expected a change in the situation by this festive season.

The current situation is affecting sales but we already have some experience from last year so it will not take a very prolonged time. We will surmount this difficult time. I think maybe before the festival season the market will revive again, he said.

The company already sells a premium MPV, Carnival, and is now resembling to bring in a mid-sized product to accumulate the volumes. When asked if the company is also holding to launch an electric vehicle in the country, Park said that with the government concentrating on the segment, the company is also looking at the market situation eagerly.

What I can say right now is that we are examining what kind of an EV can be propelled in this market. We have not concluded it yet but we are looking at it, he noted.Commenting on the situation, Kia India National Head of Sales and Marketing Hardeep Singh Brar stated the market has been very flexible so far.

One different thing is that last year there was a comprehensive lockdown and now there are partial lockdowns so the overall impact on business is weaker as linked with last year, he said.

He, however, warned that if things persist the same then there is going to be a collision on the industry volumes.

From our outlook, we are completely dependent on how much we can produce and whatever we are manufacturer we can sell because of the long waiting period on products, Brar spoke.

He added that the company is now looking to build up production further as well as improve penetration in smaller towns. We are looking at how we can build up our production to lessen the waiting period so that we can propose cars to customers at the earliest. We are projecting to do it over the next couple of months so it demands a few things like a boost in manpower, gains in logistics capability etc, Brar said.

He remarked that everything seems to be under control and we seem to be overseen towards that but one thing which is not certain is the global supply chain.

Semiconductor supply is a question mark so if that is solved in the next couple of months; we will be able to increase production by July. We are ready to go ahead in the next few months, he continued.

Currently, the company's Anantapur-based manufacturing plant has an installed production potential to roll out 3 lakh cars per annum.On sales network expansion Brar noted: We project to have 350 dealerships this year. We are close to 300 numbers right now. So the plan is to increase the network by 50 odd outlets particularly in Tier 3, Tier 4 areas. We have a lot of demand coming from those markets. The company last week revealed its new branding strategy in India. Eliminating the 'Motors' from its name, Kia now strives to develop into new and emerging business areas by designing innovative mobility.