Kia Motors Corporation has officially opened its new Indian production facility in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh. Following a USD 1.1 billion investment by Kia, the new Kia Motors India (KMI) manufacturing plant is now fully operational.
The grand opening ceremony takes place just 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, with other models to follow in the future.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the Honorable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and His Excellency, 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, Managing Director and CEO of Kia Motors India, and key leaders from Kia Motors India.
“We are proud to open our new production facility in Anantapur today,” said Han-Woo Park. “Now fully in operation, our new plant allows us to serve the growing Indian car market, and export models like the Seltos to markets across the world in major regions. In the longer-term, it will also become a vital part of our global production network.”
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 (2.16 kmsq/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 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.
The facility also aligns with Kia’s global focus on quality, with a control center ensuring the highest manufacturing standards. The final stage of the plant’s production process was an advanced quality assessment and evaluation, carried out in tandem with suppliers to enable all parties to benefit from findings. Kia’s quality control measures ensure continuous improvements in product quality, bolstering the brand’s hard-won reputation for reliability.
Made in India: sales success for the new Kia Seltos
The first model manufactured by KMI is the new Seltos compact SUV. The Seltos, launched in India in August, was met with strong sales. A total of 40,649 units have been sold as of November 2019.
“Orders for the new ‘made in India’ Seltos started just over three months ago, and high excitement and demand for the car has already made Kia the fourth biggest car manufacturers in India by volume,” said Kookhyun Shim. “Seltos with its unique design elements and specifications localized for the Indian market has made the model an overnight success.”
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 Mr. Kookhyun Shim. “We are excited to see how new models will be received in the Indian market in the future.”
In order to give customers a unique brand interaction experience, the brand has already introduced a bold new digital sales strategy for all models sold in India along with an online sales channel, enabling every phase of car purchase online, reducing buying time. The company will also enhance its aftersales services for customers with the launch of a new 24-hour real-time mobile service for vehicle maintenance, including service reservation, vehicle diagnosis and payment.
Kia plans to strengthen its offline presence as well. Already established with 265 touch points and service centers in 160 different cities, it will add an additional 50 touch points and services centers by March 2020.
The strong sales performance in October and November have made Seltos the best-selling compact SUV in the country. The company has ramped up the production to meet the demands of the most popular models in the line-up to reduce the waiting period. Kia would be showcasing its next product for the Indian market – premium Carnival MPV – at the India Auto Expo in February 2020.