Kia to kick off construction of India plant by year-end
[THE INVESTOR] Kia Motors, the nation’s second-largest automaker, plans to commence construction of its first Indian auto facility this year, making its foray into one of the fast-growing auto markets in the world.
“We are laying the groundwork for the site and plans to start construction by the end of this year,” Park Han-woo, Kia Motors CEO, told reporters at an industry event in Seoul on June 15.
In April, Kia announced it will invest US$1.1 billion to build the first Indian plant in the Andhra Pradesh state with an annual capacity of 300,000 units. It plans to start producing cars in the second half of 2019, focusing on strategic mini sedan and compact SUV for the Indian consumers.
Once completed, both Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors –- which make up Hyundai Motor Group –- will roll out 950,000 units annually, when adding Hyundai’s 650,000 annual production at its two existing plants in the country.
Kia has high hopes on its Indian entry, to boost its declining overseas performance dragged down by slowed sales in its major markets, the US and China.
Park declined to comment on Kia’s recent sales recession in China amid heightened political tension between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of US-led THAAD missile system.
In May, Kia’s China sales plummeted 65.3 percent on-year to 17,385 units, while its bigger corporate sibling Hyundai’s sales were down 65 percent to 35,100 units.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)