December 06, 2019 13:54
Kia on Thursday celebrated the completion of a new factory in Anantapur in southeastern India that will be capable of rolling out 300,000 cars a year.
Affiliate Hyundai also has two factories in India with a combined capacity of 700,000 cars.
India levies a 60-percent tariff on car imports, making it necessary for automakers who want to sell their cars in the world's second most populous country to build plants there.
Kia broke ground on the Anantapur plant in October 2017, and now it employs 450 robots to drive an automated assembly line as well as around 3,000 human workers. It is also capable of producing electric and hybrid vehicles.
The plant started trial operations in July by rolling out the small Seltos SUV, which has sold over 40,600 units since its release there in August, becoming the top-selling SUV.
Kia plans to launch a premium van there in the first half of 2020 and another compact SUV in the second half.
Last year, 3.37 million cars were sold in India to make the country the world’s fourth-largest auto market, but a slump set in toward the end of the year that led to 11 straight months of sales declines.
A Kia staffer said, "We intend to overcome the slump with high-tech functions that appeal to young consumers and establishing online and mobile sales platforms.
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