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Kia Motors Corporation has officially opened its Indian production facility in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh
Kia Motors India’s first manufacturing plant, a result of the US$ 1.1 billion investment by Kia, is now fully operational, two years after construction began towards the end of 2017. That said, the Kia Motors India (KMI) plant was already functional (as it had already been undergoing a trial production runs since January 29, 2019) and has been the production home for the brand’s first made in India car, the Seltos compact SUV, of which a total of 40,649 units have been sold as of November 2019. With the plant now fully operational, Kia Motors India can ramp up production to reduce overall waiting periods, as well as allow for the seamless integration for the assembly operations of the Kia Carnival MPV, which the brand would be showcasing at the Indian Auto Expo in February 2020. Additionally, the plant will also play a big role in exports to right-hand-drive markets in East and South Asia as well as in South Africa.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, chief minister, Andhra Pradesh 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 and Kookhyun Shim, managing director and CEO, Kia Motors India.
The Anantapur production facility can produce 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 2.16 square km or 536 acres, 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 (such as the Kia Niro) 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 20,000 new direct and indirect jobs across the region.
Kia’s plans for the Indian new car market include the production of additional models at KMI and an expanded product portfolio. Kia will commence production of its premium MPV model at KMI in early 2020. The brand also plans to introduce a new sub-compact SUV model to the market later that year, strengthening its Utility Vehicle brand image in India.
“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,” added Kookhyun Shim. “We are excited to see how new models will be received in the Indian market in the future.”
Lastly, the new Anantpur plant, and the corresponding increase of volume it will lead to, will no doubt help bolster Kia’s plans of strengthening its dealership and customer contact points, which currently stand at 265 touchpoints and service centers in 160 different cities. An estimated 50 additional touchpoints and services centers are currently in the pipeline, set to open doors by March 2020.