Kia Motors set to begin trial production from India plant

Kia Motors, the South Korean global automotive major, is all set to commence trial run of its $1 billion greenfield plant in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

The company’s first car from the plant, SP2i, a sports utility vehicle showcased at the Auto Show as a SP concept, is poised to be rolled out by July this year for sale in India.

Manohar Bhat, Head Sales and Marketing, Kia Motors India, said, “the company has managed to set up the plant in record time couple of months ahead of schedule after we begun work in October-November of 2017.”

Plans for India
“Along with two vendor parks — one close to the Kia plant and another one about 20 km from the site — the total investments would top the $2 billion mark, enabling us to set up a facility to produce 3,00,000 units per annum,” he said. “We are upbeat on the Indian market and plan to roll out at least 4-5 models over the next 18 months to two years, enabling us to offer several models to cater to the market demand,” he added.

“We are the eighth largest automotive company in the world and have a diverse set of models, ranging from sedans, super hatches and going up to large SUVs. And we plan to introduce our second model within 6 months of the first car and follow that up with other models in few months thereafter. We chose an SUV for introduction as this segment where Duster, S Cross, Creta and others are offered in the range of ?9 lakh to ?16-17 lakh, is the fastest growing segment in the country,” Bhat said.

The Kia range is differentiated by its design, quality and reliability. And has immense appeal for young and all those who are young at heart, he said explaining Kia unique proposition.

Electric push
Asked about level of localisation with which the first car is likely to roll out from the plant, Bhat said “It would be appropriate to share the number closer to the roll out of the car in July as this is set to change.”

Referring to the engagement with the Andhra Pradesh Government to promote electric vehicles (EV), he said that this was in trial stage with couple of vehicles moving around. It requires a concerted effort to develop EV support infrastructure to promote EVs. “We have EVs which can run for about 450 km for a single charge and offer them when the market demand picks up,” he said.

The plant, along with its vendors and suppliers, has the potential to provide jobs to 10,000 people, which includes 3,000 people in the main plant, Bhat said.

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