South Korean auto major Kia Motors will launch one model every six months once it starts selling vehicles in India from mid-2019 but is not considering the high-volume compact cars segment, a top company official said Tuesday. The company, which has set a target to be among top five players in three years in India, is looking to position itself as a premium brand in the mass segment. "Yes, we are considering six models in three years, which is one model every six months," Kia Motors India CEO and Managing Director Kookhyun Shim told PTI.
The company, however, is not considering the compact cars segment which accounts for about 70 per cent of the total Indian passenger vehicles (PV) segment that stood at around 3.3 million units in 2017-18. Currently, the Indian PV market is dominated by Maruti Suzuki India followed by Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and Honda.
"We want to position ourselves as a premium brand. At the moment there is no plan for compact cars in India," he said. When asked how confident is the company of becoming a top five player in India while being absent from the compact segment, he said,"Kia has lot of experience in the global market with presence in 180 countries. Our target is based on our experience and not just a dream target."
Shim further said, "We think it is very feasible. So, at the moment compact car is not on our line-up. However, whenever we think we need some volume support we can put compact car in our line up."
From the middle of 2019, Kia will start selling its will start with SUV, SP Concept that was showcased at the Auto Expo this year.
"We are developing out first product, SP Concept, based on Indian customers' aspirational needs, as well as engineering and design. We are bullish about the success of this car," he said.
Asked if Kia would continue to develop such India specific products in future too, Shim said,"We will. We find that the Indian market is very diverse and each segment there will be different needs. We are looking at the market segment wise and serve all the customer needs. We are monitoring the market."
Kia is investing USD 1.1 billion to set up its plant in Andhra Pradesh which will have an annual capacity of three lakh units. It will employ around 3,000 persons when fully operational.