Kia Motors scouts for factory location in Andhra, TN

Senior management officials from Kia Motors, a sister organisation of South Korean automobile major Hyundai, have visited various sites in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh for establishing a manufacturing facility, said sources.

The company is said to be planning a factory with annual capacity of 300,000 units. Hyundai has a facility at Sriperumbudur, about 40 km from here.

Asked, a Kia Motors spokesperson replied by e-mail: "We are continually evaluating potential locations for overseas manufacturing facilities, including India, to secure additional engines for future growth. No concrete plans have been finalised."

Officials from both state governments have confirmed that company officials visited various sites. In Andhra, the team visited seven-eight sites during their week's trip to India, they said.

In Tamil Nadu the team visited Pillaipakkam, where Ashok Leyland and Nissan were supposed to set up a facility to manufacture light commercial vehicles at a cost of Rs 4,150 crore.

The management team was led by Han-woo Park, president (standing) of Kia. Park was earlier heading Hyundai's Indian operations as managing director.

A few years earlier, Hyundai officials said Kia might look at setting up a plant close to theirs' at Sriperumbudur. Hyundai operates two plants, with a combined annual output of 680,000 units a year.

Kia's chief executive earlier stated they needed a factory in India to tap growth there and offset slowing sales in Russia and China, according to reports.

In 2015, Kia was 74 place on Interbrand's ranking of 100 'Best Global Brands', with estimated brand value of $57 billion.

The company has a compact crossover utility vehicl brand, Sportage; an urban crossover brand, Soul; compact cars Forte and Rio; and mid-size and luxury sedans under the brand names Optima, Cadenza and K900. The company also has hybrid and electric vehicles on offer in some countries.

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