Kia Motors says to invest $1.1 billion to build first Indian factory

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Kia Motors said in a statement it would manufacture up to 300,000 cars a year at the new factory in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, starting in late 2019.

Kia Motors claims that the construction of its first manufacturing facility leads to an approximate investment of US$1.1 billion investment, and will commence in the final quarter of 2017. That cost KIA about 160 billion won.

Kia Motors has announced its foray into the Indian auto market. The company plans to introduce a revamped Sonata sedan later this year, he said. Once functioning at full capacity, the new Kia India plant will be able to produce 3 lakh cars annually. Although Kia was once one of the most popular brands in China - with its K3 model the 12th best-selling vehicle there - its sales began falling in March, the company said. Kia is also stressing on differentiating itself from its owner company - Hyundai, in the Indian market.

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Kia, apart from its sister firm Hyundai, will pose significant challenge for market leader Maruti Suzuki.

India continues to be one of the world's most promising markets as an increasing number of families can afford cars as incomes rise. Nintendo said Thursday it has sold 2.74 million Switch machines and 5.46 million units of Switch software since sales began in March.

The demand for automobiles in India is expected to reach 4.83 million units by 2020, making it the world's third-biggest auto market, the company said. It also plans to rev up its sales overseas with new Niro plug-in hybrid vehicle model, sport utility vehicle K2 Cross and compact sedan Pegasus tailored for the Chinese market which are to be launched within the first half of this year. Kia sells a little more than three million vehicles a year from 14 manufacturing and assembly operations in five countries; it has annual revenue of $45 billion. The South Korean automaker's shares have been under pressure recently due to concerns about prolonged weakness in China, its biggest market, as South Korea moves ahead with its plan to deploy a US anti-missile defence system despite China's opposition.