Kia Motor Corporation on August 9. 2016 had applied for numerous patents for vehicle names in India. Among which one has been refused by the Indian Patent Office and that is for the Kia Rio. Some of the names Kia has registered patents in India obviously include the Seltos and Carnival names, in addition, Kia has registered patents for the Picanto, Forte, Optima, Stinger, Niro, Soul, Sportage and Sorento names which we are currently aware of.
However, the name for the hatchback which is based on the Hyundai i20 may not be called the Kia Rio as it is known globally. The patent for the Kia Rio was rejected by the Indian authorities because the name Rio has already been used for a vehicle in India and the trademark was earlier registered to Premier Ltd. who used to manufacture Premier Rio, which was a sub-compact crossover.
The Premier Rio was the first-ever SUV styled tall hatchback with a high ground clearance powered by a diesel engine which measured under four-metres in length. One can argue that it was a pioneer of the sub-compact SUV segment which is one of the fastest-growing segments in India. The Rio was essentially a rebadged version of a Chinese made Zotye Nomad.
While the patent for the ‘Rio’ moniker registered to Premier Ltd. currently stands as “abandoned” the patent application for Kia Motors Corporation stats mentions that the application has been refused.
Whether Kia will reapply for the Rio moniker with modifications in the application is possible. But as it stands, it is possible that Kia may name the Rio hatchback when it launched in India with an all new name.
Currently, Hyundai is working on the third generation i20. The Kia Rio for the Indian market is expected to be built on the same underpinnings as the upcoming Hyundai i20. Kia Motors India has stated that it will launch a new product in India every month. While the first half of 2020 will see the launch of the Carnival MPV, while in the second half of 2020, Kia is expected to launch its sub-compact SUV in India to rival the Vitara Brezza and the Hyundai Venue. The international spec Kia Rio also measures over 4-metres in length, which is we Kia will build a model bespoke to the Indian market based on the new i20. As for the name of the new model, we will have to wait and see what the model will be called when it is introduced.