Made in Andhra Kia car ready

Made in Andhra Kia car ready

Andhra Pradesh took a big leap in manufacturing sector with South Korean carmaker Kia Motors kicking off trial production at its muchawaited, 11...

Anantapur: Andhra Pradesh took a big leap in manufacturing sector with South Korean carmaker Kia Motors kicking off trial production at its much-awaited, $1.1 billion (nearly Rs 7,800 crore) car manufacturing plant near Penukonda in this backward district.

AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the trial production run amid much fanfare on Tuesday at the plant which is slated to roll out its first model, a sports utility vehicle (SUV) based on SP Concept, in the middle of this year. Shin Bongkil, Korean Ambassador to India, was also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Naidu said that the Kia plant would transform the backward region of Anantapur into a hot destination for foreign direct investment. “Anantapur receives lowest rainfall in the country. So, many people said it would fast turn into desert. That is not the case anymore. We will turn it into an automotive hub as more and more companies are coming forward to invest here,” he said.

Seoul-headquartered Kia Motors, which signed agreement with the Andhra Pradesh government in April 2017 has set up the plant in a record time. “We started construction of the site just 14 months ago and to have started manufacturing operations here so soon is testament to our bold plans and strong commitment to India,” Kookhyun Shim, Managing Director & CEO, Kia Motors India, said at the inaugural ceremony.

The plant spreading over 536 acres has an initial annual production capacity of 3 lakh units with plans to expand it to 4 lakh units. An integrated automotive production facility, it employs the latest production technologies, with more than 300 robots automating the press, body and paint shops.

Though Kia Motors will initially focus on the domestic market, nearly 10 per cent of the production at the new plant, 15th one for Kia globally, will eventually be earmarked for exports.

Kia Motors says it has already invested most of $1.1 billion it has lined up for the plant. Besides, a large number of auto component makers which set up units in two vendor parks near the plant have put in additional investments, taking the total investment to $2 billion (Rs 12,900 crore). Over 1,200 regular employees are currently working at the plant which will eventually generate 3,000 direct jobs and nearly 7,000 indirect jobs.

Present across 80 countries, including the US, Kia Motors sells over 30 lakh cars annually. It offers wide range of models, including sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs and crossovers. It is entering India at a time when the country’s automobile market is poised for an exponential growth.

“India will play an important role in expanding Kia Motors’ global footprint and today feels like the start of another chapter in our Indian success story. Commencing trial production is a significant moment that we have been preparing for as we take on the challenges of future mobility across the country,” said Han-Woo Park, president and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation.

Meanwhile, Kia provided new Soul EV to the government of Andhra Pradesh as a part of its future mobility partnership.

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