The world’s third biggest automobile market, India, is poised to welcome a new entrant – Kia Motors Corporation. Founded in 1944, the oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles in Korea, has moved on from bicycles and motorcycles to becoming one of the fastest growing car manufacturers in the world today.

From producing its first small car in 1974, the company has grown phenomenally and today produces more than 3 million cars which are sold in 180 countries across the globe.

 

Global following

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The Korean automotive pioneer’s growth has been driven by innovations, revolutionary designs and R&D, especially in Eco-Technology, with the Kia brand being ranked the 69th most valuable brand in the world, known for its exciting, modern and reliable range of cars.   A network of manufacturing bases, including both advanced production facilities and assembly lines, in countries around the world, besides Korea, has seen Kia’s annual revenue touch around USD 45 billion, with annual sales of nearly 3 million vehicles. Kia Motors has 14 facilities across five countries around the world, including the USA.

 

Indian set-up

Kia Motors, a part of Hyundai Group, South Korea’s Engineering and Automobile giant, has recently signed MOU with Andhra Pradesh Government, to set up its seventh manufacturing facility. With investment of around Rs 7,000 crores (USD 1.1 billion) and an annual capacity of 300,000 units, the factory is to come up in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh.  The region’s swiftly growing supply chain network and the availability of skilled labour, plus proximity to the sister concern, Hyundai Motor’s factory in Tamil Nadu, are key factors that tilted the decision in favour of Andhra Pradesh.  With Hyundai Motors already well-established in India, Kia hopes to leverage their logistics and supply chains, capitalising on the benefit of the infrastructure already available.

 

The Andhra Pradesh Government is offering a host of incentives, and so, construction of the manufacturing facility, Kia’s first in this country, is expected to commence by September/ October 2017. The company hopes to start mass production by the second half of 2019. Apart from the main Kia factory, the manufacturing complex spread over nearly 600 acres of land on Bengaluru highway, is also to be home to a number of supplier companies’ facilities.

 

Indian market needs

Kia Motors’ plans include manufacture of a compact sedan and a compact SUV especially for Indian market. The Indian plant, which will also have facilities for painting, welding, assembly, etc, is expected to provide further thrust to the company’s aim of becoming a leading global manufacturer of cars. Kia believes the Indian unit will enable it to maintain its growth and consolidate its position as one of the fastest growing car brands.

 

Industry experts believe entry of Kia will stimulate Indian automobile market further. Though product line-up for India is yet to be disclosed, latest models of Picanto, Sportage and Rio are some of the offerings from Kia anticipated to be seen on Indian roads. India waits to watch if Kia will repeat the success story of Hyundai.

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