Kia Motors Bets Big on SUV


Korean auto-maker Kia Motors is betting big on its maiden India launch with a mid-sized SUV and plans to introduce five models within three years beginning 2019, a company official said. Kia Motors, the second-largest automaker in Korea after Hyundai with a 30 percent market share, would launch the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) in the second half of 2019 produced from its upcoming facility at Andhra Pradesh.

"The demand is now towards the SUV segment. We are launching our first car in the Indian market which would be a mid-sized SUV," Manohar Bhat, head (sales and marketing) of Kia Motors India, told reporters here today.

Unlike Maruti and Hyundai, which tasted success in India by launching small cars initially, Bhat said that Kia will launch the SUV because the market has towards that segment. The executive director of Kia Motors India Yong S Kim said that India was the final step in the global footprint of Kia Motors.

"In India, we want to be among the top five automakers in the three years of launch in 2019," he said. He said that the Indian plant was being set up at an investment of USD 1.1 billion and would give direct employment to 3,000 people. The plant would have an annual capacity of three lakh cars, Kim added.

The plant was being built on 600 acres and would be fully operational by the second half of 2019, he said. "Primarily, Kia plans to sell its products in the domestic market," Kim said.