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Kia chief hints nothing confirmed on new India plant

[THE INVESTOR] The head of Kia Motors on Aug. 17 said it will take a while for Korea’s second-largest automaker to build an auto plant in India.

“It won’t be that easy,” Park Han-woo, president of Kia Motors, told reporters after a breakfast meeting in Seoul with the trade minister and heads of other carmakers. “It will take some time because there isn’t a proper site or (the necessary) people in India yet.”


Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo visits Hyundai Motor’s India plant in Chennai, India. Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo visits Hyundai Motor’s India plant in Chennai, India. Hyundai Motor Group

The remark comes after a local news outlet reported that Kia Motors is nearing final negotiations to build its first factory in India, most likely in Andhra Pradesh state, some 80 kilometers from Hyundai Motor’s two plants in Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu.

“We have not negotiated anything. But we are looking at possible sites,” said Park, who formerly headed Kia Motors’ larger affiliate Hyundai Motor’s Indian unit.

He denied a rumor that Kia is seeking to begin manufacturing in India by 2019. “It is (only) our wish,” he said. “We are not in such a hurry now.”

Park, however, reaffirmed the company’s plan to make inroads in India to tap into the market. “Because we cannot export a single car to India now, (going to India) is the right path.”

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)

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