Pinning hopes for revival of automobile sector, South Korean major Kia Motors Corporation is planning to launch a luxury multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), Carnival, early next year.
The company sees an untapped opportunity for the luxury MPV segment. Carnival, which is a luxury and BS VI-compliant MPV, will be a 7-8 seater with better features in size and comfort. By 2020, Kia will be expanding its product portfolio with premium MPV and sub-compact SUV, which is claimed to be one of the best-selling segment in the country.
Speaking on the sidelines after inaugurating the manufacturing facility at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, Kia Motors India (KMI) vice-president for sales Manohar Bhat said, “The strong sales performance in October and November have made Seltos the best-selling compact SUV in the country. We have 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.”
Meanwhile, the company opened its new Indian production facility in Anantapur. With an $1.1-billion investment by Kia, the new KMI’s manufacturing plant is now fully operational and is the production home for Kia’s first ‘made in India’ product, the Seltos compact SUV, with other models to follow in the future.
In April 2017, Kia Motors had signed an agreement with Andhra Pradesh government to build a facility in Anantapur. It had commenced mass production in August 2019.
“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,” Kia Motors Corporation president and CEO Han-Woo Park said.
The Anantapur facility is capable of producing up to around 300,000 units a year, boosting Kia’s total global manufacturing volume as it entered the world’s fourth-largest new car market. The plant is spread over 536 acre 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 while designing the production lines. The plant is equipped with more than 450 robots.
The area around KMI is home to numerous suppliers’ 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 centre ensuring the highest manufacturing standards. The first model made by KMI is the new Seltos compact SUV.
The Seltos, launched in August, had strong sales with 40,649 units have been sold as of November 2019. “Orders for the new ‘Made in India’ Seltos started only three months ago, and high excitement and demand for the car have already made Kia the fourth biggest car manufacturers in India by volume,” Kia Motors India managing director Kookhyun Shim said.