South Korean automotive major Kia Motors on Tuesday commenced trial production at its India plant in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. The company, which plans to launch its first car in the Indian market in the second half of 2019, has invested $1 billion in the facility which has come up in Erramanchi village in Anantapur district.
Ancillary units have invested another billion dollars in two vendor parks in the region. The state-of-the-art facility, which has come up on 536 acres of land, will manufacture 300,000 vehicles annually.
Kia marked the start of trial operations with a launch ceremony at the Anantapur plant, in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and South Korean Ambassador Shin Bongkil, President & CEO of Kia Motors Corp Han-Woo Park and Managing Director and CEO of Kia Motors India, Kookhyun Shim.
Kia Motors, the world's eighth largest automaker, will start the manufacturing with SP2i, a SUV based on the Kia SP Concept, first showcased at India's Auto Expo 2018.
"The SP2 is inspired by India and combines everything Indian customers need and desire in a car. We are confident that the SP2 will redefine the SUV segment in India with its futuristic design and competitive features and pricing," said Shin Bongkil.
"Today, we officially begin our journey to becoming one of the top five automakers in India by 2021, with a new model that will appeal to forward-looking and outgoing Indian buyers," said Shim.
The Anantapur plant, Kia's 15th globally, will create over 3,000 direct and 7,000 indirect jobs.
An integrated automotive production facility, it employs the latest production technologies, with more than 300 robots automating the press, body and paint shops.
The plant houses a five-acre training facility that offers a Basic Technical Course (BTC) in automobiles in collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corp (APSSDC), helping develop manufacturing skills among young people.