GREATER NOIDA, India - South Korean carmaker Kia Motors Corp is targeting annual sales of 300,000 vehicles in India from 2021, the head of its local unit said on Wednesday, as it gears up to launch cars in the world's fifth-largest auto market.
Kia in April 2017 agreed to invest more than $1 billion to build a car manufacturing plant in southern India with an annual production capacity of 300,000 units. Kia will launch its first car, a sport-utility vehicle designed for India, in mid-2019.
Kia will compete with market leader Maruti Suzuki India and Hyundai Motor Co, and its production plans will come as a boost for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" initiative.
"We have long-term plans for India. Economic conditions in India have improved and customers want cars that offer value for money," Kookhyun Shim, managing director of Kia Motors India, told Reuters on the sidelines of the country's biennial auto show in Greater Noida near the capital, New Delhi.
Kia, which displayed its cars in India for the first time at the auto show, expects to produce 30,000 vehicles in 2019 to start with, Shim said.
Separately, Kia'a President Han-Woo Park told reporters at the event that the carmaker would focus on launching SUVs and hatchbacks in India and was also looking at introducing a compact electric vehicle.
"With the plant in India, we are one step closer to creating a truly global manufacturing network," said Park.