Korean carmaker, which is currently installing equipment at its 300,000-unit plant in Andhra Pradesh, will commence mass production by mid-2019, starting with a midsize crossover.
Kia Motors India, the Indian arm of Kia Motors and part of the Hyundai Group, is on track with its greenfield facility in India and is looking to set up the “most extensive” dealer network to start with for a new entrant in the country.
The company, which is investing US$ 1.1 billion (Rs 7,005 crore) in the Indian market with a new 300,000 units per annum capacity plant at the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, says the plant structure has been erected and it is now in the process of installing the equipment to start operations.
“We will begin trial production by early next year and eventually mature our process to commence mass production by middle of 2019,” said Manohar Bhat, Head - Marketing and Sales, Kia Motors India, speaking to Autocar Professional.
While it will make its entry with a midsize crossover – the SP Concept – which was showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo in February this year, it aims to quickly introduce other models as well, in order to strengthen its presence in the Indian market.
“The SUV segment is the most growing segment right now anywhere in the world and we want to target that space,” Bhat said.
The company says it is studying the market and will choose the most relevant products for the Indian market from the expansive Kia portfolio and aims to introduce the second model by 2020 Auto Expo. “We are going to introduce one new model every six months and aim to reach full capacity utilisation within three years from launch,” Bhat added. The annual capacity at the plant is being considered only for domestic sales in India initially.
Extensive dealer outreach
Commenting on plans for its dealer network in the country, Bhat said, “We are working on having ‘touch-points’ up to the Tier 4 level, and we will have the most extensive network to begin with, for any new entrant into the Indian market.”
“We want to reassure our customers with our presence in every part of the country and be ready to offer them aftersales support whenever they need it. While we will be establishing our network in a phase-wise manner, we need to be ready with a robust presence at start to a certain extent, given that we will be adopting an aggressive launch strategy and cannot ramp up our network every six months.”
“We will adopt our globally followed 'Red Cube’ design theme for our all our outlets to represent the brand and we will begin our brand campaign in the country by end of December,” Bhat concluded.
Kia Motors India will employ 3,000 people at its plant and will ramp up production in a gradual manner, starting with 100,000 units in the first year in a single shift, and growing to 200,000 units and 300,000 units in the second and third year over two and three shifts respectively.
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