(Times of India) – Competition in the domestic car market is set to get intense with Korean auto giant Kia planning an aggressive foray . The company has decided to line up a strong product portfolio and will introduce three cars -between 2019 and 2022.
The vehicles will include a mid-size SUV and a sedan, and Kia hopes to achieve annual sales of 3 lakh cars over the three years following its debut in 2019, Tae Hyun Oh, chief operating officer for Kia’s international business, said. “We have studied the Indian market very deeply, and would like to be one of the mainstream brands here with trend-leading premium-feel products,” Oh told TOI here.
The company , an affiliate of Hyundai Motors, is setting up a greenfield facility in Andhra Pradesh that would see cumulative investments of over $2 billion between Kia and its suppliers.
Oh, who has previously worked at Hyundai Motors in different roles, feels Kia will be able to counter the challenge from local heavyweights such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, Honda, and Tata Motors through exhaustive focus on products, marketing strategies and a robust dealer set-up.
“Our brand slogan is `the power to surprise’, and we intend to follow this principle as we set foot and expand here. After Mexico, where we began operations two years ago, India is the last piece in the puzzle as far as our global operations are concerned. It is certainly one of the most important markets for us now.”
In line with its efforts to understand the market better, Oh answers a question about the company’s rather late entry into India in Hindi, “der aayae, durust aaye (better late, but came well-prepared)”. He said Kia has been doing “a lot of homework” for India foray , understanding the Indian customer and preferences.
Asked whether the company will rely on support from Hyundai, that has been here for nearly two decades, Oh said, “I can only say that don’t worry about it, we can stand on our feet. We need to be different.”
The company , which is working on dealer partners and localisation of components, plans to go live with marketing and branding activities ahead of launch of its products. “Our biggest challenge is awareness as most of the prospective customers may currently not know what Kia is.
We intend to have active pre-marketing before the product launch in 2019.” The company intends to have marketing activities around sporting events, in line with its global association with soccer, tennis and NBA.”We want to have a youthful and sporty edge for our brand.”