It's official: Kia is coming to India, first car to roll out in 2019

After years of dilly-dallying and scores of rumors predicting their entry every now and then, Kia Motors has officially announced their plans for India today. 

Mr. Han-Woo Park, President of Kia Motors, declared that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the state government of Andhra Pradesh where the brand's first manufacturing plant would be set up with investments to the tune of US $ 1.1 Billion. The fully-integrated plant would incorporate stamping, welding, painting and assembly facilities inside spread across 536 acres. 

Kia has also announced that a host of suppliers would be joining them in setting up their facilities in and around the site at Anantapur. It's safe to expect high localization levels then, atleast in the long term.

Mass production is due to start in the second half of 2019 with an annual capacity of about 300,000 cars. Though Kia has not revealed its product plans for India yet, they have been magnanimous in declaring that a compact sedan and a compact SUV would be specifically made at the plant for the domestic market. From the Picanto hatchback to the Stinger GT luxury sedan, Kia makes cars to suit wide range of pockets and tastes. Certainly, quite a few of them have potential to make it big in India. 

India is the fastest growing major automotive market in the world while Kia is amongst the fastest growing mainstream automotive brands globally. It was just a matter of when and not if Kia would make it to the country.  

Kia, South Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles, was founded in 1944. In 1998, Hyundai acquired a controlling stake in Kia when the latter went bankrupt. Since then, Kia's cars and utility vehicles are developed in conjunction with Hyundai with the two brands sharing the underpinnings. 

That said, cars from the two brands end up cometing with each other in almost every market they are present in. India would be no different despite the fact Kia appears to be mirroring Hyundai's strategy from a couple of decades back. It would be interesting to see how these two brands work in tandem to rival Maruti-Suzuki, Tata and Mahindra here.

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