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(LEAD) Kia to produce two RV models at Indian plant next year

All News 17:01 December 05, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS 2020 sales target in India in 8th para)

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-biggest carmaker, said Thursday it will begin producing two recreational vehicle models at its Indian plant next year to boost local sales.

Kia plans to manufacture a "premium multipurpose vehicle" (MPV) and an entry-level sport utility vehicle in the first and second half of 2020, respectively, mainly for sale in the Indian market, the company said in a statement.

"The company decided to produce the RV models in India as local demand for MPVs and SUVs remains strong, though the overall vehicle demand is slowing down amid a global economic slowdown," a company spokesman said.

Kia plans to unveil the premium MPV, targeted at high-income earners, at the Delhi Auto Expo in February next year.

This photo provided by Kia Motors shows its entry-level SUV Seltos. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In July, the maker of the K5 sedan and Sorento SUV began producing the entry-level SUV Seltos at its 300,000-unit-a-year plant in the state of Andhra Pradesh, located in the southeastern part of the subcontinent.

It sold a total of 40,649 Seltos models from July to November in the world's fourth-biggest automobile market after China, the United States and Europe.

The company expects the plant will be able to produce up to 64,000 Seltos models by year's end and aims to fully operate the plant within three years to export Indian-made cars to the Middle East, Latin America and other Asian countries, the statement said.

In 2020, Kia aims to sell 160,000 units of the three Indian-made models in India.

Kia has strengthened its SUV lineup with competitive models to take advantage of rising demand for recreational vehicles. Kia's SUV lineup is composed of the flagship Mohave, midsize Sorento, compact Sportage, subcompact Stonic, Soul boxcar and Niro hybrid models.

The Telluride is sold only in North American markets. It is produced in Kia's U.S. plant and was launched in the U.S., the world's most important automobile market, last year.

The Seltos, developed under the project name "SP2," comes in two versions -- one with a 1.6-liter turbo gasoline engine and a fuel efficiency of 13 kilometers per liter, and the other with a 1.6 diesel engine and a fuel economy of 18 kilometers per liter.

Both engines are equipped with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT). The dual clutch gearbox is quicker in terms of response when driven hard compared to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox.

The Seltos is the first Kia vehicle that comes with a Bose sound system and boasts dozens of safety features, such as forward collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, safe exit assist and driver attention warning systems.

In Korea, it sells at a starting price of 19 million won (US$16,000), and the price tag goes up to 26 million won depending on options.

Hyundai Motor Co., which owns a 34 percent stake in Kia, sells Creta, Venue and Kona SUV models in the world's second-most populous market after China.

This undated file photo provided by Kia Motors shows its plant in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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