Korean auto major Kia Motors Thursday announced global debut of its SUV Seltos in India, where it plans to launch four new models in the next two years. The Seltos has been designed and developed keeping the Indian market in mind but will be exported from the company's plant in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, to Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other Asian countries.
"Kia Motors' India project plays a crucial role in our global plans... We have invested tremendous amount of energy and resources to position India as a primary driver of Kia's future success," Kia Motors Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Han-Woo Park told reporters in Gurugram. The Anantapur plant will manufacture four new models, including the Seltos, in the next two years, he stated.
Overall, Kia has invested USD 2 billion in India, including USD 1.1 billion at the plant which has a capacity of 3 lakh units annually, Woo added.
Elaborating on plans going forward, Kia Motors India Managing Director & CEO Kookhyun Shim told PTI that smaller sports utility vehicle (SUV) and multi-purpose vehicle are on the anvil as the company seeks to have a significant presence here in India.
Earlier, Kia had stated that it was considering to bring six models in three years, which is one model every six months, including an India-exclusive electric vehicle. The company, however, is not considering the compact car segment which accounts for about 70 per cent of the total market.
Park said Kia is beginning its journey in India with 265 touch points in 160 cities. It will be increased to 300 by 2020 and 350 by 2021. "While Seltos has been designed and developed for the Indian market, it will be sold globally," he said. If Seltos can satisfy the Indian customers, it can be sold in other markets such as Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia, he added.
The model will come in BS-VI compliant petrol and diesel engine options with three automatic transmission variants and a six-speed manual transmission version. It will be available in global markets from the fourth quarter of 2019. Seltos is expected to be priced between Rs 11 lakh and Rs 17 lakh, company officials said.
Reiterating the significance of Kia's presence in the country, Park said India will have a "major positive impact" on sales strategy of the company, which has a total global combined capacity of 4.1 million units annually. "India is crucial market for Kia Motors' overall growth story and will play an important role in expanding our global footprint," he said.
Park further said, "Globally, the world premiere of the Seltos is an important milestone for Kia as it shows our commitment to the Indian market".