KIA Motors to commence exports by September-end

The company which is the sister entity of Hyundai Motor has invested USD 2 billion in India. Reuters file photo

KIA Motors, the newest automaker to have set shop in India, will begin exporting vehicles manufactured from it's brand new and swanky plant in Andhra Pradesh from the end of this month via the Chennai Port. The first lot, which is expected to be shipped on September 20, will comprise of 500 vehicles and the number will be increased gradually.

KIA Motors and Chennai Port Trust signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Thursday for export of vehicles manufactured in the Anantapur plant of the South Korean auto major. Already, Hyundai India, sister concern of KIA Motors, exports vehicles from the Chennai Port.

KIA Motors Chief Operating officer Jongsoo Kim said the company will export 30 per cent of cars manufactured in the Anantapur plant and is “actively considering” using railways to bring the cars from the manufacturing unit to the Chennai Port for shipping to its final destination.

“We will begin with 500 cars and will increase the numbers gradually. The cars would be exported to Middle East, South East Asia and Mid-South America,” Kim said. He also exuded confidence that KIA Motors would throw some surprises in the coming weeks in terms of volume.

Kim said the company has manufactured 6,000 cars in the first month and would achieve the target of selling 32,000 units by December 31, 2019, which is the number of vehicles pre-booked by customers. The Seoul-headquartered KIA Motors rolled out its first vehicle under the brand Seltos from the plant in the second week of August.

Chennai Port Trust piped three other ports – Kamarajar and Kaatupalli in Ennore and Krishnapatnam in Nellore – to bag the contract from KIA Motors. Chennai Port Trust Chairman P Raveendran said the public sector firm provided tailormade facilities and concessional benefits for export of vehicles from the harbour.

“There is competition. But we could clinch a deal with KIA Motors for export of vehicles from the Chennai Port. The facilities offered to KIA Motors are similar to that was offered for its sister-concern Hyundai India, but not the same,” Raveendran said.

The 10-year-old agreement between KIA Motors, Glovis India and Chennai Port Trust is expected to boost export of cars from the port. Raveendran said nearly 80,000 cars have been exported from Chennai Port since the beginning of 2019 as against 52,948 during the same period in 2018.

He said the Chennai Port Trust would approach other car makers like Nissan, Ford and Toyota to use the facilities at the port to export vehicles.

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