By B V Mahalakshmi Korean automobile major Kia Motors commenced trial production at its Anantapur plant in Andhra Pradesh. The first car SP2i, which is an SUV, is expected to be rolled out in July this year with a price tag of `9-`16 lakhs. After the launch of this SUV, Kia will launch two more cars. In the next 18 months, Kia expects to have three new cars on sale in India. "Trial production of the SP2i will enable Kia to finetune manufacturing equipment and tech logistics before series production commences later in 2019," Han-Woo Park, Kia president and CEO said. The 536 acre-plant is its 15th manufacturing plant and has a capacity of upto three lakh units. Kia has invested over $2 billion alongwith its vendor partners. According to Kook Hyun Shim, company\u2019s MD, the auto firm has officially begun its journey in the country to become one of the top five automakers in India by 2021. The Korean company signed an MoU with AP government in April 2017 for building a new manufacturing facility in Anantapur. It has also partnered with state government for creating eco-friendly cars and develop vehicles that are future ready. The plant will have initial installed capacity of three lakh vehicles per annum which may be further increased to four lakh vehicles. The production volume will comprise of 90% domestic sales and 10% exports. In addition to world-class production competencies, the plant is equipped with high-end robotics and AI technologies. Kia said it is committed to meeting the socio-economic and ecological needs of humanity, and the plant uses environmentally-conscious techniques, such as 100% water recycling, to fulfil the company\u2019s responsibilities for developing sustainable and mutually-beneficial production practices.