Kia Picanto (Morning) spotted testing in Chennai

Not so long ago, there were speculations flying around in the media about the possible entry of Kia, Hyundai's sister brand into India. Hyundai promptly refused the rumors and said that Kia's plans for India was shelved and it is not going to make it here anytime soon. Coming from Hyundai itself, it was reason enough to believe that Kia is not destined for the Indian market and close the chapter. Well, it is time now to reopen the Kia subject as a friend of mine spotted, snapped and sent me the picture of a bright green Kia Picanto doing rounds in Chennai.

This is the closest and clearest shot yet of the Kia Picanto in India. What on earth would a Kia small car be doing here with 'Test' registration plates and its badges and logo masked? Like some manufacturers do, Kia could be conducting some global tests on the Picanto in India to test its worthiness without any intentions to launch it here. Or, it could well be using the existing Picanto's body shell to test the underpinnings of the next generation i10 and Picanto as the two share many components. But, we wish to believe otherwise.

With no less than 4 small cars in its lineup that already overlaps between each other in price and positioning, Hyundai has left no space to launch another small car here to grow further and increase their volumes. Obviously, the next phase of growth for Hyundai can only come through Kia and this test mule has just sparked all speculations about the possible launch of the brand in India within the next few years. Though Kia shares most of its models with Hyundai, they have a completely different design language and the interiors are all-new as well.

Globally, the Picanto (Morning in Korea) is a successful model for Kia that has been raking in big volumes. It shares its power-train, chassis and all the basic underpinnings with the i10 and to many eyes including mine, the Picanto looks much better, bolder and aggressive than the i10. Who knows, Hyundai could even be planning to surprise us all in the 2012 Auto Expo by bringing in the Picanto and showcasing the Kia brand to the public. I, for one, can't wait for more information on this. We are waiting for you, Kia!


  1. This looks great. If Picanto comes here, Hyundai i10 sales will be badly affected.

  2. Kia Picanto's rear end is more beautiful than the i10. Hyundai will probably replace the existing i10 with this car

  3. The Kia Picanto’s rear looks definitely better than the Hyundai i10, but I dont like the headlights coz it has the frog eyes of that of the A-Star or that of that lady in Ripley’s believe it or not,who could actually pop her eyeballs out.Definitely not attractive.

    Coming to it cannabalising the Hyundai products...I dont think so...point in case, look at Volkswagen/Skoda. infact it will eat into the Suzuki Maruti share.

    And considering that the Kia products have a beeter design language, I'm sure customers will be willing to shell out 5-10% more than the hyundai products. And thats how Hyundai will make profits.

  4. @ Above - I echo your comments. The Kia Picanto's rear-end design definitely looks much better than the i10. Having said that, it has to be mentioned that the i10 still looks and feels contemporary 4 long years after its launch.

    @ karikor - The front-end of the Picanto is a little weird. As you said, Hyundai and Kia products can peacefully co-exist in India just like VW and Skoda but there are huge costs involved in setting up a new brand here.