Just about every mainstream automaker has a relatively low-cost subcompact seven-seater these days. Toyota has the Avanza and Rush, Honda has the Mobilio and BR-V, Mitsubishi with the Xpander and Xpander Cross, and Suzuki has the Ertiga and XL7. Curiously though, the South Korean automakers, namely Hyundai and Kia, haven't latched on to that trend yet.
Kia previously had a small MPV in the form of the Carens. However, it wasn't exactly what one would call a low-cost MPV. During the time it was sold here, it retailed for PHP 1,230,000, and that was in 2013. The Carens was dropped quietly a few years ago with nothing to replace it since. Over at Hyundai, the only way to have a multi-passenger vehicle was with the Starex.
But that might change soon. Hyundai said they will come up with one and it might be called the Staria. What about Kia then? As it turns out, they want to make one too. It doesn't have a name for now, but it's internally called the KY.
A leaked document recently surfaced online showing Kia's 2021 to 2022 product timeline. There, it shows an MPV model that's slated for a January 2022 launch. Kia says it's an “India Strategic Model”, so it's almost certain it will be built there. However, it seems that it won't be exclusive to that country. Another part of the document shows that they plan to export it with a goal of 26,000 units per year in markets outside of India.
This has us thinking: is it possible that the Kia KY and Hyundai Staria could share the same underpinnings? Remember, Hyundai owns a large chunk of Kia, and the two have been sharing parts, platforms, and engines since the '90s. It is possible that the Kia KY might be assembled in Indonesia as well. Should it be sold here, that might be a good thing. That's because Indonesia is exempt from the safeguard tariff recently imposed by the government.
We'll dig around the international trademark office to see if Kia registered any new names recently. But for now, it looks like Hyundai and Kia want to steal more sales away from the Japanese and the looming Chinese competition.