Back in September it was reported that Kia-Lucky might introduce a 7-seater SUV– most likely the Sorento to compete with the existing Toyota Fortuner which is currently priced between PKR 76.99 lac and PKR 91.49 lac. Reportedly the Sorento will be much better equipped than the Fortuner and will probably be launched at 15% lesser price of that of Toyota’s SUV.
Now in a recent interview to Dawn, CEO of Kia-Lucky Mr. Asif Rizvi has revealed that the third locally assembled product in their portfolio will indeed be the Sorento. The 7-seat mid-sized SUV will be powered by 3.5L V6 engine good for 276hp for Pakistani market and will come available in 3 variants. This also suggests that the Cerato which was speculated to be the next local assembled offering might have been pushed back for a later date.
The Sorento SUV alongside Cerato sedan, are also included in the 4 vehicle convoy running across the country as part of Kia’s heavily marketed campaign captioned #WeAreUnstoppable. However we will be getting the 3rd generation model which debuted back in 2014 and received a facelift in 2018. The South Korean automaker recently launched the 4th gen Sorento which has been introduced in South Korea, US as well as UK where the vehicle has won the 2021 Carbuyers’ Car of the Year award.
Although the 4th gen Sorento has been introduced in few markets, the 3rd gen model continues to be sold in most parts of the world and will be replaced gradually. Bear in mind the 4th gen Sorento was supposed to make its debut in March 2020 at the Geneva Motor Show but the event got cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic. The 4th gen Sorento ultimately made its debut in September 2020.
Coming back to the locally assembled Kia Sorento, the company obviously isn’t trying to target the general set of buyers here. As the vehicle will likely cost around or above PKR 7 million & with a 3.5L V6 under its hood, it’s not going to be everyone’s piece of cake. However military officials, bureaucrats & politicians are big buyers of SUVs of this size and the Sorento will create good competition in this elite segment.
For most of the ordinary buyers this won’t look like a sound move, but just look at things from this perspective. Toyota Fortuner which Kia Sorento is aiming to target sold 367 units during the first 4 months of FY2019-20 averaging 91 odd units a month, however in FY2020-21 it has sold 629 units in first 4 months averaging 157+ units registering a 71% increase in sales. So the segment which is witnessing phenomenal growth & was long ruled by just one option will now have 2 rivals locking horns.
And while Fortuner might have an edge being a true 4×4 with better off-roading capabilities, the Sorento due to its superior urban driving characteristics & lower price tag will be lucrative for in-city travelers who need to move around with 7 people in a prestigious manner. Plus size is something that’s considered a superiority & status symbol for buyers of this class, so who knows the Sorento might emerge as a better alternative to the likes of used Prado.
Plus in addition to Sorento, the company is brining in the latest generation of Kia Carnival which debuted few months ago. Bookings of the all new Kia Carnival have been initiated with deliveries set to commence in February 2021.
Automobile sector is recovering fast with constantly improving sales while many new products are being introduced in the market as well. Kia indeed has bigger plans for Pakistan and looks serious to capitalize the market with a good array of options. As Mr. Asif Rizvi puts it:
“We are fully geared to take advantage of the expected rapid market growth. We will top it up with some phenomenal new products.”