Is Kia Sorento in Trouble?

Lucky Motor Corporation (LMC) is offering a huge discount on the Sorento mid-sized crossover SUV in Pakistan. The limited time offer which comes on back of the New Year celebrations & achieving 50,000 units production milestone which the company accomplished in November 2021, will benefit buyers up to a discount of Rs 704,000.

As a result, the Sorento 2.4 AWD is now available for PKR 74.99 lac instead of PKR 78.12 lac while the flagship 3.5L V6 is also available for PKR 74.99 lac instead of PKR 82.03 lac. Which means the prices of both variants will be exactly same for a limited time. But the question is, why only Sorento? Also considering the fact that 50,000 units milestone was achieved in November– more than 2 months before the discount has been offered.

sorento disc

The 3rd generation Kia Sorento was launched in Pakistan back in February 2021 as the most equipped local assembled vehicle having the biggest displacement engine under its hood, the first local assembled car to have a V6 engine as well as the first to have 6 airbags among all locally available vehicles, that too, backed by 4-years/ 100,000 km warranty. However the car pitting in the same price league as that of Toyota Fortuner, hasn’t been able to see the sort of success which the company might have anticipated.

Related: Kia Offers Massive Price Reduction on Sorento

But according to the CEO of LMC Mr Asif Rizvi, the sales performance of Sorento is quite satisfactory. In a recent interview to Business Recorders, he said:

“Sales for Sorento cannot be compared to Sportage. The former is a 2.4 or 3.5 liter, 7-seater with 6 airbags—remember, Sorento is a Rs 7-8 million car and that is a small market. There is a Rs 2.5-3 million gap between the two vehicles. The Rs 7-8 million car segment is going to be smaller and that was always the expectation. The market shrinks as you go up the price ladder, and this applies to vehicles of all assemblers, not just us. The cost of ownership increases, not only because of the higher price tag but also because of higher taxes and registration fees. But I will say, that we are having expected sales for Sorento in its segment too. Sorento is on a passenger vehicle platform and distinguishes itself from a truck SUV and those who own a Sorento realize the comfort of this.”

He might be true to a certain extent and obviously being at the paramount position, the CEOs are supposed to paint a better picture of things. However there are certain aspects which tells us that the Sorento has somehow failed to do what Sportage did for the company. Yes the market shrinks when we go up the price ladder but at the same time, a glance at how the competitors are performing in the same league can show us a different & more lucid picture.

Sorento white

For example, 3,619 units of Toyota Fortuner were sold in the first 6 months of this fiscal year which is an astounding 190% more than 1,247 units sold in the corresponding period of previous fiscal year. It is indeed quite interesting that all this has been achieved with Sorento already present in the market. Yes market shrinks as you go up the ladder, that’s why 3,619 units of Fortuner in 6 months is way low than 13,233 units of Yaris in the same period. Still its an impressive figure for something which falls above the PKR 7 million price league. Compared to this, the Sorento obviously falls far behind.

Related: New Kia Sportage Becomes Highest Selling Car in South Korea

Another key factor is that the Sorento is an up-market monocoque crossover which benefits from better urban driving characteristics but lacks true off-roading capabilities of any true ladder-frame SUV such as the Fortuner. So its mainly only preferred by those who want to have a luxury 7-seat crossover to be driven within city. The Fortuner obviously, can be driven in both terrains while it may not have the urban driving qualities like Sorento, still its something (urban driving) buyers of such vehicles give secondary value.

Fortuner Sorento
Kia Sorento with Toyota Fortuner

Then comes the road presence, where Fortuner obviously has an edge with a more imposing stance. It also benefits from an already established name, better parts availability & resale and above all, a Toyota emblem on it. But one of the most important things is the new & improved 2.8L turbocharged diesel engine under its hood which delivers a towering 500Nm of torque with 201 hp, making even the toughest of driving almost effortless.

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3rd gen Sorento was launched back in 2015

Lastly, the Sorento we have here is an older generation model that debuted way back in 2015. In this day & age when the information is at fingertips, companies have to understand they cannot dupe the customers anymore. No matter how good the vehicle is, its an obsolete model. In comparison the Fortuner in Pakistan is in its latest guise with IMC already in process to pitch in the flagship Legender variant.

Related: New Kia Sorento Wins 2 More Awards

Sorento is obviously the least selling vehicle under the LMC umbrella and with a massive discount it does show us that the company is serious to clear out the unsold inventory. It is also believed that LMC might be considering to replace it with the new 4th generation Sorento but it seems unlikely since the move might push the prices up even further making it more difficult for the company to compete in the segment.

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The 4th gen Kia Sorento

Whether the recent price cuts will benefit the sales of 3rd generation Kia Sorento in Pakistan, we will have to wait to find out. What is your take on the latest discount offer on Kia Sorento, share your opinion in the comment section below.

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