Kia Motors India is the latest Indian automaker to begin exporting its made-in-India products. The Korean carmaker has shipped its first export consignment of 471 Seltos SUVs in September from the Chennai Port.
It is understood that the destination of the exported SUVs is South America. Details of the shipment have yet to be received and Autocar Professional's recent emails to both Kia Motors India and Chennai Port Trust were yet to elicit a response. Other export markets on the cards for the company are the Middle East and South Asian countries.
Chennai Port Trust signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Kia Motors India and its logistic partner Glovis India for the export of cars through Chennai Port. (Photo: Chennai Port Trust)
On September 5, Chennai Port Trust had signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Kia Motors India and its logistic partner Glovis India Anantpur Pvt Ltd for the export of cars through Chennai Port. The agreement, which is valid till 2029, was signed by Mukesh Balani, Traffic Manager and Jong Soo Kim, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors in the presence of P Raveendran, chairman; Cyril C George, deputy chairman; M M Parthiban, Principal Commissioner of Customs and Jim Young Kim, managing director, Glovis.
Chennai Port is offering tailor-made facilities and concessional benefits for the export of vehicles to Kia Motors India, which will exclusively use Chennai Port for this purpose. It is understood that around 30 percent of the production from its Anantpur facility would constitute exports.
Kia sells 13,790 Seltos in India in two months
Kia had first revealed the Seltos in a global debut on June 6, following it up with the official launch on August 22. The Seltos is manufactured at a state-of-the-art plant in Anantapur, which is spread across 536 acres, has an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles and is also capable of producing hybrid and electric vehicles.
The company has invested US$ 1.1 billion (Rs 7,755 crore) into this greenfield facility, and has plans to further increase total investment to US$ 2 billion (Rs 14,100 crore) into operations, products, R&D and market expansion by 2021.
In the first six months of FY2020, Kia has manufactured a total of 18,350 units, with 9,801 units coming up in September 2019. In the domestic market, the carmaker has sold a total of 13,790 units comprising 6,236 units in August and 7,554 units in September. What's more, the Seltos entered the best-selling UVs chart in its very first month of sale.
It may be recollected that Hyundai Motor India, sister company of Kia Motors India, held an International Partner’s Meet 2019 in New Delhi in end-September. The Chennai-based carmaker, which has been the largest passenger car exporter from India since inception, saw 60 of its global partners participate in the two-day meet . Partners representing Hyundai from several countries including South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Vietnam, Chile, Peru and Columbia participated in the International Partners Meet 2019 and many new markets like Ethiopia, Zambia and Ghana were also explored for export of the Atos (Santro in India).
Seltos gets over 50,000 bookings
Launched in end-August at Rs 9.69 lakh, the Seltos has over 50,000 bookings in hand, a solid position to be in for a brand-new car brand in India. The company officially began accepting bookings in July. Gauging market demand, Kia also introduced two additional top-spec variants of the Seltos on September 7, 2019 called the GTX+, which is available with the 1.4-litre turbo-petrol-DCT combo and the 1.5-litre diesel-automatic option. The company has delivered 13,790 units in the last two months, though waiting periods now stretch to three months on select variants.
The Korean brand has confirmed to Autocar India that of the 50,000 bookings made, nearly half are for the 1.5-litre diesel engine model, about 30 percent for the 1.4-litre turbo-petrol, and the remainder for the 1.5-litre petrol. The split for manual to automatic buyers for the 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engine Seltos is 50:50, though those who chose the 1.4-litre turbo-petrol mostly opted for the dual-clutch automatic transmission option. Kia has also stated that there is higher demand for the higher-spec variants of the Seltos.
Also read: Hyundai India looks to accelerate exports, hosts strategic meeting with 60 global partners