Kia Motors, the world’s eighth largest automaker, today commenced trial production at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Anantapur, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This not only signifies the completed construction of the new 536-acre manufacturing facility, but also marks the arrival of Kia’s new flagship car for India, the Kia SP2i SUV based on the Kia SP Concept, first showcased at India’s Auto Expo 2018.
Autocar India, sister title of Autocar Professional, has just revealed the pre-production Kia SP2i SUV. The Kia SP2i will bring Kia’s exacting standards for quality to the Indian market, as well as the brand’s reputation for cool, modern design and cutting-edge in-car technology. Trial production of the SP2i will enable Kia to synchronize and fine-tune the brand’s manufacturing equipment and technologies before series production commences later in 2019.
Kia marked the start of trial operations with a launch ceremony at the Anantapur plant, in the presence of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu and Shin Bongkil, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India. The ceremony was also attended by Han-Woo Park, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corporation, and Kookhyun Shim, Managing Director and CEO of Kia Motors India.
Kia also consolidated its Future Mobility Partnership with the government of Andhra Pradesh by handing over an example of the new Kia Soul EV (electric vehicle). The new EV is part of Kia’s growing portfolio of advanced, eco-friendly powertrains. This partnership reinforces Kia’s commitment to supporting the Andhra Pradesh government in promoting the uptake of EVs and developing a local EV charging infrastructure.
Commenting on the brand’s latest production milestone, Han-Woo Park – President & CEO of Kia Motors Corporation said, “India will play a singularly important role in expanding Kia Motors’ global footprint, and today feels like the start of another chapter in our Indian success story. Commencing trial production is a significant moment that we have been preparing for as we take on the challenges of future mobility across the country.”
Glo-cal approach to manufacturing
Kia’s new Anantapur manufacturing facility occupies 536 acres and is capable of an annual production capacity of up to 300,000 units, boosting Kia’s global manufacturing capability. The plant is poised to create more than 3,000 direct and 7,000 indirect jobs across the Andhra Pradesh region. A US$ 2 billion investment by Kia and its vendor partners ensures the availability of world-standard technologies and the development of high-quality local manufacturing skills.
“Today represents a moment of pride and reflection for us as we officially commence trial production of Kia’s new Indian manufacturing plant. This is the latest important step in our entry into the Indian automobile market. We started construction of the site just a couple of months more than one year ago, and to have started manufacturing operations here so soon is testament to our bold plans and strong commitment to India,” Kookhyun Shim, managing director and CEO of Kia Motors India commented. “Globally, Kia constantly seeks out new ways to reduce consumption and minimise waste across the entire automotive lifecycle, and we believe in constantly monitoring results to ensure we remain clean and green. Here in Anantapur, we have created one of the most technically-advanced, cost-effective and labor-efficient manufacturing facilities in the world. Today, we officially begin our journey to becoming one of the top five automakers in India by 2021, with a new model that will appeal to forward-looking and outgoing Indian buyers,” he added.
An integrated automotive production facility, the new Anantapur plant employs the latest production technologies, with more than 300 robots automating the press, body and paint shops
The plant houses a five-acre training facility that offers a Basic Technical Course (BTC) in automobiles in collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC), helping develop manufacturing skills among young people. Safety performance during vehicle production is another highlight of the facility.
Reducing the environmental impact of car production
In addition to world-class production competencies, the plant is equipped with high-end robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Kia Motors says it is committed to meeting the socio-economic and ecological needs of humanity, and the plant uses environmentally-conscious techniques, such as 100% water recycling, to fulfil the company’s responsibilities for developing sustainable and mutually-beneficial production practices.
Since 2003, Kia’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of vehicle production has seen a 30% decrease in per-unit consumption of water resources globally. Kia Motors also seeks to maintain high air quality around its plants, with the company achieving a 44% per-unit reduction in local atmospheric pollutants since 2003. Each of Kia’s manufacturing plants has installed independent systems to monitor the use of potentially hazardous chemicals on a regular basis. These high global benchmarks that Kia Motors has established at manufacturing facilities around the world have been brought to the Anantapur plant, making it Kia’s most modern and energy-efficient production facility.
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