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Kia plans national network to launch at full throttle


Anantapur, January 30, 2019South Korea’s Kia Motors, which started trial production of a made-in-India car at its facility in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, on Tuesday, is preparing to roll out a nationwide network of sales and service centres at launch.

Sales and Marketing Head Manohar Bhat said, “The idea is to sell the maximum number of cars at the earliest. So, my sales and services network is also following in the same direction. It will be quite wide and deep, covering even tier-IV cities and beyond, making it the largest for a first-time automaker in India”. He declined to reveal the number of dealers roped in so far, adding that “it’s a work-in progress and we will announce it closer to the launch.”

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was present at the trial run, along with Kia Motors India MD & CEO Kookhyun Shim, Kia Motors Corp president & CEO Han-Woo Park and Korean ambassador to India Shin Bongkil.

The $1-billion manufacturing plant, with the capacity to make 300,000 cars annually, was built in a record 15 months, ahead of schedule. The integrated facility employs the latest technologies, with more than 300 robots automating the press, body and paint shops. Kia will start by rolling out the SP2i concept SUV in July, which will compete with Renault’s Duster, Maruti Suzuki’s S-Cross and Hyundai’s Creta. It will be priced in the range of Rs 9 lakh to Rs 16 lakh, Bhat said.

Kia Motors India MD Shim said, “SUVs are the fastest-growing segment in the Indian automobile market today and that’s why we have decided our India foray with the launch of an SUV,” he said, adding that they will be priced competitively. “The SP2 is inspired by India and combines everything Indian customers need and desire in a car”.  Bhat said Kia Motors expects India’s automotive market to grow by 8-12% over the next 5-10 years even though sales currently are low.“The growth in GDP and automotive growth are correlative and the automotive demand will grow significantly going forward,” added Bhat.

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