Kia Motors Corporation is the world’s eight largest carmaker. The reason why you need to be aware about this fact is because some top names in the global car industry have tried and burnt their hands badly in a seriously complex car market which is India. But Kia Motors India managed to commence operations on a really strong note. So much so, within a year of resuming business, the brand has two locally-built models on sale in India and both are already bestsellers in their respective segments.
Besides targeting the right segment and offering the right products, one of the biggest reasons for this success is also the carmaker’s vast dealer and service network in the country. The brand was quick to understand that in an Indian customer’s vehicle buying journey, proximity to the brand was a key factor. As a result, even before they began making cars at their seriously massive facility (their 15th plant across the globe) in Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, Kia Motors India had already announced its presence through 265 touch points across the country. Till date, this has been the highest number for any new entrant in the Indian automotive industry.
The carmaker realises the potential of the Indian car market and its future plans are backed by reasons which are more statistical in nature. For instance, realising the fact that there are only 22 cars for every 1,000 individuals in India, the company is looking to mark its presence deeper into the country. To be precise, it wishes to expand in Tier IV towns as there are a lot of fans of the brand in areas which are looked at as rural but where the spending capacity is quite high. Kia Motors India is on a path of expansion and is already accessible at 300 outlets across the country.
Along with reach, Kia is also considerate about the profitability of its dealer partners and it’s one of the key elements of a plan which will drive the brand’s growth strategy in India for the next couple of years. In a COVID-19 dealer support satisfaction study conducted by the federation of automobile dealers associations (FADA), in association with PremonAsia, Kia Motors India was one of the few automotive companies who met expectations of their dealers better than others. Kia supported its partners during the crisis by promptly managing issues in areas of customer communication, dealer manpower training, and with financial support (particularly in terms of negotiating better deals on working capital & term loans through banks).
When it comes to reach, in Tier 3 and 4 towns across India, Kia’s i2S service and spare module has helped the brand grow tremendously, as retail sales happen at the nearest biggest outlet, without the need for the customer to travel all the way for the car’s service needs, once the purchase has been made. The brand maintains that its core service strategy is region-agnostic, however, realising that people are more closely-knit in smaller towns and villages in India, the dealerships in these areas will play a bigger role in engaging directly with the customer and establishing a deeper connection.
For anyone who is a current or future customer of the brand in India though, the most important thing to know is that Kia spends a lot of time and energy on understanding customer needs. It intends to continue improving its service network while unleashing customer-centric initiatives to reiterate the brand’s identity, which is to offer a seamless and hassle-free ownership experience to the customer. To sum it up, like we’ve witnessed quite a lot of times in the Indian car market, the Kia story is not the one where the cars are great and the service is just the opposite.