Kia Motors India, which is seeing robust sales traction with its Seltos SUV right since launch on August 22, today officially confirmed plans to commence production of its premium MPV – the Carnival – in early 2020 at its Anantapur plant. While the Carnival will be more of a brand-building model for Kia, the mass market will be addressed by a new sub-compact SUV model, which is slated to be launched later in the year. In mid-November, the India-bound compact SUV was caught testing.
“We have a robust plan for India, and the launch of new models and technologies will help us maintain the positive momentum that we have enjoyed to date,” said Kookhyun Shim, managing director and CEO of Kia Motors India.
According to Manohar Bhat, vice-president and Head of Sales and Marketing, Kia Motors India, said: “The Carnival will not be a volume driver but will be positioned as a flagship product to convey our image as a quality-focused company which can build high-end cars. The Carnival will be CKD and thus no need for capacity ramp up. Kia Motors India plans to launch the Carnival at the upcoming Auto Expo 2020 and also showcase the next model – a sub-compact, sub-4-metre SUV (codename Qi concept), along with a host of EV models from its global line-up.”
Kia still thinks EVs are sometime away in India. "Our first task is to make syre that the installed capacity is completely utilised before looking at EVs. Having said that, as and when the opportunity arrives, we will be ready to grab it. The Anantapur plant is capable of building EVs even today, the only thing is we don't know when the demand would come in," added Bhat.
Plant officially inaugurated
Earlier today, the company had the official opening of its S1 billion production facility today in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, two years after construction began in the fourth quarter of 2017. The KMI plant is the production home for Kia’s first ‘made-in-India’ product, the Seltos compact SUV which has in barely four months sold over 40,000 units.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and Bongkil Shin, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India. The ceremony was led by Han-Woo Park, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corporation, Kookhyun Shim, MD and CEO of Kia Motors India.
Han-Woo Park: "Kia is targeting 2.8 million global sales in 2020 and Kia Motors India will play a big role in achieving the target.”
Han-Woo Park, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corporation, said: “Everyone working in the (Kia Motors India) project has played a big role in the success. Who would have imagined that we would rise to the top in such less time? It would have also not been possible without our fruitful partnership with the Andhra Pradesh government. We would also like to thank all our vendors for extending their support in the success of the Seltos. We are realising Make in India and envision India to be one of Kia's global manufacturing hubs. Kia is targeting 2.8 million global sales in 2020 and Kia Motors India will play a big role in achieving the target.”
The Anantapur production facility is capable of producing up to around 300,000 units each year, boosting Kia’s total global manufacturing volume as it entered the world’s fourth-largest new car market. The plant occupies around 23 million square feet and incorporates facilities for stamping, welding, painting and assembly. In addition to petrol and diesel variants of the Seltos, production of future electric and hybrid vehicles was put into consideration when designing the KMI plant production lines.
The plant is equipped with more than 450 robots, helping to automate the press, body and paint shops, as well as the assembly line. Additionally, the area around KMI is home to numerous supplier companies’ facilities. Kia’s presence in Anantapur has helped create over 12,000 new direct and indirect jobs across the region.