The Seoul-headquartered Kia Motors, which aims to be the third largest car manufacturer globally by 2020, will launch in India in mid-2019 with SUV cars.
To make inroads in the country's cluttered automobile market, Kia is launching its advertising and communication campaign around the football world cup. Through sports, the company aims to reach out to India's youth.
Talking about the upcoming launch of the brand and why the company chose the FIFA World Cup for the launch of its communication campaign, Manohar Bhat, Head, Marketing and Sales, Kia Motors India, said, "Kia Motors worldwide is into a lot of sporting activities. In India, we have begun with football because as the world cup is nearby and we have got this golden opportunity to send our Indian participations to the FIFA World cup.”
The brand is also planning to launch electric vehicles. Hyundai's in-house agency Innocean Worldwide will handle Kia's creative and media duties. The brand will be present across all advertising platforms.
Asked why Kia is launching its campaign a year before the launch, Bhat said, "It’s never too soon to communicate what you are and what you stand for. Most people in India don’t know what Kia stands for. We have already shown our range in the auto expo and it became very clear to the consumers about the brand positioning of Kia Motors." He said what would differentiate Kia from other auto manufacturers in India would be the sporty and youthful design. The Kia cars, which will primarily be SUVs, will carry a competitive price tag in the price-sensitive Indian market.
Your first Indian communication is on the football world cup. Does this mean that your primary TG is sports enthusiasts or you would like to be better known for your range of sports utility vehicles?
All our vehicles have a common DNA running through it in terms of design. We are a design-oriented company and we appeal to the people who are young at heart. Therefore, it makes sense for us to be in sports also. Kia Motors worldwide is into a lot of sporting activities. In India we have begun with football because as the world cup is nearby and we have got this golden opportunity to send our Indian participations to the FIFA World Cup.
With what brands will Kia enter India? Will we see EV and hybrid models too?
We have showcased much of our entire range in the auto expo. Firstly, we will be launching our mid-level SUV SP Concept. As far as technology is concerned, we have our pure electric vehicle, which is being sold in Europe and America. We have a 6% market share in the electric vehicle. We believe that launching electric vehicles in India does make a lot of sense provided infrastructure needed for EVs is built.
Why did Kia decide to enter India at this point in time?
Kia has manufacturing facilities across the world and is selling vehicles in over 160 countries. We have our manufacturing facilities in China, Korea, US and Europe and lately Mexico. In the global footprints, the only thing left was India. India is one of the fastest growing markets and by 2020, will be the third largest automobile market in the world.
Where do you want to be placed in the automobile market in India?
We are going to have a factory, which will be producing 300,000 vehicles per year so we aim to be one of the largest manufacturers and among the top five to four manufacturers in the country once the capacity kicks in. It will take two to three years to reach our full capacity.
How will Kia cars be priced – affordable mass range or higher and premium?
Pricing would be competitive as we will be coming in the mid-SUV market and will be pricing ourselves accordingly.
When do you plan to launch the Kia brand? Any specific date or timeline?
In mid-2019. The factory is coming up very fast. We are almost two months ahead of schedule already.
Don’t you think it is too early to launch the communication/campaign as it is difficult to maintain the brand recall for a long time without physical presence of the product?
It’s never too soon to communicate what you are and what you stand for. Most people in India don’t know what Kia stands for. We have already shown our range in the auto expo and it became very clear to the consumers about the brand positioning of Kia Motors. Associating with FIFA was a golden opportunity for the Indian kids and we couldn’t let this go.
When will we see the brand’s mainline communication coming up?
We are looking at it already and will be slowly ramping it up towards the launch of the vehicle.
Which is the creative and media agency for India?
Innocean Worldwide is handling both our creative and media duties as of now.
The Indian market is cluttered and dominated mostly by Maruti Suzuki. How will you differentiate yourself from others?
We are differentiated in terms of design of the vehicle from the rest. You can make out from the vehicle that the vehicle belongs to the Kia family. All our Kia cars have a tiger nose grill in the front, which itself is very different from the rest of the brands.
What will be your communication approach and how will be the focus on different mediums?
The media market is fragmented and we need to be in all the mediums.