ANANTAPUR: Kia Motors commenced its trial production at its first Indian unit located in Anantapur district on Tuesday and will start commercial production from September. The first car to roll out of its Anantapur unit will be a Sports Utility Vehicle — SP2i. It is custom made for Indian road conditions and requirements of the motorists. The unit has a production capacity of three lakh units per annum.
Kia entered the Indian market with its SUVs, which it feels is the growth segment. The firm is confident its SUV, customised for the Indian market with no compromise on quality, will be its USP.Its new concept vehicle was showcased during Auto Expo 2018 piqued interest among car enthusiasts. The premium category vehicle, will be a five-seater initially and sport the trademark tiger nose grill and other ergonomic features.
Kia Motors president Han Woo Park had described the car stylish, youthful and vibrant.Though the concept vehicle was showcased during the trial production ceremony, it was highly camouflaged and no details of its interiors were visible. Under the hood, it is expected to have 1.5 petrol or diesel engines. According to market sources, the car is likely to be priced between `10 lakh and `16 lakh.
South Korea Ambassador to India Shin Bongkil said the firm’s trial production marks another milestone in Indo-South Korean economic relations, while Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu described it as a historic day.
Bongkil was appreciative of Andhra Pradesh’s business-friendly policies and business-like governance. He said Kia and other South Korean industries will help in economic prosperity of the State. Han Woo Park, president and chief executive officer, Kia Motors described the firm’s journey in Anantapur as an incredible experience. “Last year, I was at Auto Expo India; I never expected that we will progress at such a quick pace,” he said.
As a mark of the firm’s cooperation and commitment, he presented the State government with the company’s latest electric car — Kia Soul EV. The company has already presented three of its vehicles — Kia Niro in its petrol-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric form.
The Chief Minister officially announced Han Woo Park as Andhra Pradesh brand ambassador for South Korea, while appreciating his contribution in transforming a backward region as the automobile industry’s future one-stop destination.
Describing the journey with Kia Motors as eventful, he said the day will come when the State will compete with South Korea in doing business on a global scale.
Elaborating his government’s efforts to attract investments to the State and transforming the region into a automobile hub, Naidu said Kia’s rapid progress will also spur MSME growth. Praising Kia for providing employment to locals, he urged the firm to advance its plans for electric vehicle production, slated for 2025.