Kia Motors' India operations achieved a new milestone, with trial production of their first SUV for the country kicking off today at their Anantapur plant. Marked by a grand ceremony, attended by Chandra Babu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh CM, Shin Bongkil, Korean ambassador to India, HW Park, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corporation, and Kookhyun Shim, MD of Kia Motors India, the start of trial production of the SP2 also stands ahead of the planned schedule.
The SP2 Concept was first seen at the Auto Expo 2018, and while a new product developed for India, will borrow key mechanical components from Kia Motors' sister concern globally, Hyundai. To that end, the SP2 (it's working name) is based on underpinnings from the Hyundai Creta, including its petrol engine,while a new BS6-compliant 1.5-litre diesel is in the works. Both will come with a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. We're told we can expect a launch during the festive season (September 2019), with a new product every six months hence. The second vehicle for India will be the Carnival 7-seater MPV, with a 2.2-litre diesel engine making 202PS and 440Nm torque.
To reiterate, the Anantapur facility has been constructed with an investment of over $2 billion and an annual capacity of 3 lakh vehicles. We're told the plant will mainly serve the domestic needs of Kia in India. Two vendor parks have been set up in close proximity to the plant to help Kia Motors India reach the highest level of localisation possible, though a figure has not been revealed to us yet.