Last week three KIA vehicles were spotted testing near Hyderabad as the South Korean manufacturer, this time partnered with Lucky Cement (Yunus Brothers Group) is in process of making a comeback in Pakistan.
This will be KIA’s third attempt in making its ground in our market. Earlier during the mid 90s, Naya Daur Motors under Tawakkal Group introduced the 1100cc Pride hatchback and 1 ton Ceres pickup in Pakistan. Rs 800 million as booking were collected from 16,000 people while only a few hundred vehicles were delivered to customers before the company went bankrupt. The collected money was allegedly transferred outside Pakistan for the company’s other businesses.
In the following decade Dewan Farooque Motors Limited made agreements with Hyundai and KIA to assemble and sell their vehicles in Pakistan. By 2007 Dewan group started to post losses cascading into problems for the entire group and by 2008 were vanished from mainstream news. Dewans were eventually declared the defaulters of over Rs 40 billion and hence the KIA chapter in Pakistan was closed for the second time.
This time however KIA has the strongest chance of getting into the success stream due to the fact that the KIA-Lucky venture is financially the strongest compared to their other two ventures from the past. Secondly the global acceptability of South Korean manufacturer KIA has increased significantly and their product portfolio is better than ever, compared to the likes that were introduced in previous times.
One of the three vehicles that were spotted near Hyderabad last week was the KIA Carnival, the 7/8 seater minivan which KIA refers as an MPV. The Carnival is sold by various names across the globe including KIA Grand Carnival as well as KIA Sedona.
The Grand Carnival is referred as the most luxurious vehicle by KIA and it’s a positive sign that new comers are willing to tap the segments that were never really explored by the existing manufacturers in our market before.
It was designed by Peter Schreyer, former Audi designer widely known for his design contributions to the Audi TT & Volkswagen New Beetle. Schreyer now leads the design teams at Hyundai and KIA & has developed a distinctly new, more contemporary look that you see in KIA vehicles today.
The KIA Grand Carnival comes with either 3.3 liter Lambda II GDi V6 or a 2.2 liter CRDI VGT R-Line turbodiesel engine and it’s easy to assume that the 2.2 liter diesel variant will most likely be available in Pakistan since it’s available in other Asian markets as well including Malaysia where it was launched earlier this year.
The 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine outputs 193PS at 3,800rpm and 440Nm of torque at 1,750 to 2,750rpm mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The fuel consumption is rated at 7.7 liter per 100km which simply converts into approx 13km in a liter.
The equipment list includes projector halogen headlamps, LED daytime running lights (DRLs), electric-folding side mirrors, power sliding doors, keyless entry with push-start, smart power tailgate, a 3.5-inch Supervision TFT-mono OLED instrument cluster, 4.3-inch TFT color touchscreen entertainment system and a six-speaker audio system with USB and AUX-in connectivity etc.
One of the interesting features is the power sliding rear door, which gives access to rear seat passengers. The system is so intelligent that if the windows are pulled down, the sliding door won’t fully open all the way (while still giving decent access to get in & out) in order to avoid any injury to the passengers. However it operates normal if the rear windows are fully closed.
Safety equipment includes six airbags, front and rear parking sensors, electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock braking system (ABS) and hill-start assist control.
The Grand Carnival distributes its eight passengers across three rows of seats, all with their own set of ceiling-mounted air-conditioning vents. The seating configuration offers a lot of options as the second-row seats can be folded in a 40:20:40 split and the middle seat can be removed completely if you only want seats for two passengers.
Getting into the third row is also easy as the second row seats don’t fold as most cars do but instead straightens upright which gives a wider opening to get to the back. Furthermore the third row seats can be folded flat in a 50:50 split to accommodate more cargo.
The Grand Carnival already has an impressive 359 liters of boot space with all the seats up and with the seats folded, offers a massive 2,718 liters of space which is a lot. KIA also offers an 11-seat version of the Grand Carnival in certain markets.
People in our market have started to consider people movers recently since they offer a prestigious travel for 7 or more people along and the KIA Grand Carnival will target those buyers. However bear in mind it won’t be an economical options at all since with all the practicality & features listed above, it won’t come cheap.
Related: KIA Motors Starts Hiring in Pakistan
As said earlier, it’s good to see new comers willing to tap the segments that were untouched in our market before and the Grand Carnival will be a welcome addition too. However a lot depends upon the price, maintenance and after sales support by the company. If Kia-Lucky is able to keep that in balance, then we might be able to see some healthy competition ahead in our market.
Stay tuned to CarSpiritPK for more updates on KIA’s comeback!