The compact sedan category has long been dominated by Toyota Corolla (1.3) and Honda City in Pakistan. During the past decades there used to be a Suzuki option either in the form of Margalla in the 90s or Baleno in 2000s, but since the demise of Liana, the playfield is left for Toyota & Honda only.
Now however, after the Auto Policy 2016-21 has taken effect, plenty of newcomers are expected to make their way in. South Korean manufacturers Hyundai and KIA, which had a presence in our market during the last decade, are among the ones making a comeback.
Previously they were in ties with Dewan group, which later went into financial troubles after which the Hyundai & KIA chapter was closed. This time Hyundai has partnered with Nishat group while KIA has team up with Lucky Cement (Yunus Brothers Group), both of which are much financially sound companies compared to their ex-venture.
The compact car segment in Pakistan will soon see an addition of Hyundai Verna and Kia Rio, as the South Korean manufacturers are inching closer to their formal launch of vehicles in Pakistan. KIA vehicles including the Rio have already been spotted quite a few times testing on the roads while the Hyundai-Nishat websites indicates a range of upcoming vehicles including the Verna.
Related: KIA Vehicles Spotted Testing
Both Hyundai Verna and KIA Rio share the same chassis & platform, and share the engines from the same stable too. Both are available in a choice of 1.4 & 1.6 liter (Gamma & Kappa) engines with 5-speed/ 6-speed manual, automatic & CVT transmission options. However the Rio comes exclusive with a 1.2 liter Kappa engine not available with the Verna sedan.
Kappa & Gamma are range of engines offered by Hyundai-KIA. Kappa engines are newer, lighter and more fuel efficient compared to Gamma engines which are around for quite a few years now. However both the engines are being deployed in Hyundai & KIA vehicles depending on the market they are targeted to.
Since both the vehicles are similar in platform & engines, and belong to the same segment, it is quite possible that the Verna will be available as sedan while the Rio will be here as a hatchback since every Rio spotted so far is a hatchback. Although what engines will be offered with these two cars is yet unknown but it is quite obvious that the two won’t compete with each other directly thus there will be a difference in engine & body configurations as well. Likely the Hyundai Verna will be offered as a sedan with either a 1.4 or 1.6 liter engine while the Rio will be a hatchback with 1.2 or 1.4 liter engine.
The South Korean manufacturers have been producing world-class vehicles lately and holds a strong chance to shake up our market with an exciting range of vehicles. The Hyundai Verna and Kia Rio has got all the potential to break the monopoly of Toyota Corolla (XLi/ GLi) and Honda City. Sensing this Toyota Indus has indicated to discontinue the 1.3 liter Corolla variants and offer the Vios instead, since Corolla competes with the likes of Hyundai Elantra & Kia Forte and it makes more sense to introduce the smaller Vios to take on the Rio & Verna. Honda however is yet to respond as they are still continuing with the 9 year old fifth generation City in Pakistan.
Related: IMC will Introduce Vios to Replace XLi and GLi by July 2018
The success of Hyundai Verna and KIA Rio depends a lot on the price tag and after sales service these companies are going to provide. If priced sensibly backed by proper after sales support, the Verna and Rio will surely become successful in our market and trigger a healthy competition which will soon be joined by Renault & the Chinese co.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com