Kia Lucky Motors has confirmed that it will be launching its subcompact SUV Kia Stonic late next month but demurred from sharing the price range due to the currency exchange rate volatility.
“We don’t want to predict the price,” said a company official. “You never know where the dollar would go next month.” Just yesterday, the dollar hit a record high in Pakistan at Rs168.94.
There is a reason for Kia Lucky’s reluctance to talk prices given the dollar-rupee dance. Pakistan’s auto industry is heavily dependent on imported car parts, especially new entrants such as Kia, which have not localized car parts much. So, when the dollar rate goes up, their cost of production goes up and vice versa. According to some estimates, some cars are made of 70% imported parts, called CKDs (completely knocked down units).
Nevertheless, given what is available in the market and of what they know of the industry, experts were ready to speculate on the price. Auto sector expert Usman Ansari said that he expects the SUV Stonic price to be kept in the range of Rs2.8 million and Rs3.3 million to ensure it competes with the sedan car segment of Honda City, Toyota Yaris, Changan Alsvin and Proton Saga.
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“But there’s no direct competition to Kia Stonic in Pakistan,” said Ansari. “It’s just a bit bigger than the Suzuki Swift but smaller than the Nissan Juke subcompact SUV,” he explained. “It will be a unique segment car in Pakistan. It may be that its USP (Unique Selling Proposition) will help it sell.”
The Stonic comes in petrol engine sizes of 1000cc, 1200cc and 1400cc and a diesel engine option is offered in the 1600cc.
In addition to the Stonic, Kia Lucky is slated to launch its Peugeot 2008 (pronounced as poojauw) in December this year. It is a car made by the French PSA Group with petrol variants coming in 1200cc and 1600cc size engines and diesel variants in 1400cc and 1600cc. Expectations are that both petrol variants will be launched and most likely the lower one for Stonic and higher of Peugeot 2008 to keep the market separate for each vehicle. “Peugeot 2008 is a bit of a bigger compact SUV than Stonic, but slightly smaller than the Kia Sportage,” Ansari said.
“The Peugeot 2008 price may be between Rs3.6 and Rs4.1 million,” thinks Ansari. “The company would not want its own cars to compete between themselves especially on the price factor.”
According to reports, the 2000cc Sportage is Kia’s top-selling car in Pakistan despite catering to the high-end segment. The car has been the first crossover SUV in Pakistan. But the segment has now seen mushroom growth as Hyundai, MG Motors, Sazgar Group, Regal Automobiles and Proton have all launched crossovers in the category.