Sportage is considered as one of the oldest & most successful products in the South Korean automaker’s lineup. Not only that its Kia’s bestselling model, its also the first Kia ever to exceed global cumulative sales of 6 million units achieving the milestone in May 2021.
The Sportage is currently in its 5th generation that debuted in June 2021. Now being over a year old in international markets, the latest iteration has already reached most parts of the world. For the first time, it comes available in two iterations. There is a long wheelbase version that’s sold in International markets including China, Oceania, South Korean domestic, and North American markets whereas the short wheelbase version is sold in European & South African markets.
The latest Sportage is built in Kia’s 5 production faculties around the world including Gwangju South Korea, West Point Georgia USA, Kaliningrad Russia, Chu Lai Vietnam, and Zilina Slovakia whereas production at the Malaysian plant is expected to kick off during the first quarter of 2023. The previous 4th generation model was produced in 7 different locations including Gwangju South Korea, Zilina Slovakia, Yancheng China, Gurun Malaysia, Kaliningrad Russia, Batna Algeria, and Karachi Pakistan.
However, Pakistan remains the only country where the obsolete 4th gen Sportage is still being assembled. The new 5th gen Sportage in addition to a number of markets around the world has already been introduced in right-hand-drive (RHD) markets including Australia, South Africa, the UK & other European markets.
The 4th gen Sportage is currently the bestselling product in Kia Pakistan’s lineup. At one time, it was also unofficially the third bestselling locally assembled vehicle in Pakistan. During the first three months of this fiscal year, despite tougher economic conditions, around 2,560 units of Sportage were sold averaging around 853 units a month.
The new 5th gen Sportage is on the verge of being introduced in Malaysia (another RHD market) where it is expected to make its debut as CBU in Q4, 2022 while assembly operations at Kia’s plant in Gurun will likely begin in early 2023. It is yet unclear when the new Kia Sportage will be introduced here in Pakistan, however with Kia’s 3 out of 4 locally assembled models being obsolete, it will probably be too wishful thinking for us to expect the launch of a new model anytime soon.
Furthermore, the current economic scenario & restrictions on the import of CKD parts makes it quite difficult for any automaker to launch a new vehicle in Pakistan. The 4th gen Kia Sportage has already breached the Rs 7.1 million price barrier, the new model will surely cost more than this and will put Sportage in the same price domain as that of 3rd gen Sorento, another globally obsolete model on sale in Pakistan, the price of which starts from Rs 7.8 million.
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