NEW DELHI: Four years after starting operations in India, Korean carmaker
said its India business has turned profitable. The company now plans new investments for expansion of factory and driving in new vehicles, including an entry electric SUV developed specifically around Indian needs.
Kia India MD & CEO Tae-Jin Park told TOI that the company expects its sales to grow by 8% this year, despite facing intense competition from players, such as Tata Motors, sibling Hyundai,
, and Mahindra & Mahindra.
Park, who launched a new version of the company’s best-seller
SUV, also said the broader car industry may grow by 6% this year, after a strong showing in 2022, as recessionary pressures that impacted global markets may have some impact here.
He said Kia’s business in India has managed to turn profitable, largely led by strong exports, which fetched it better margins compared to domestic sales. “After starting operations in 2019, we finally managed to make a little profit last year, which is a first. We export around 25% of our production and the cars are shipped to over 100 markets, including in the Asean region, Middle-East, Africa, and Latin America. There are much better margins to be made in exports.”
On new products, he said the company will introduce a new compact SUV, which will come with both electric and ICE (internal combustion engine) powertrains. “This model is being specifically developed around the needs of the Indian buyer, something similar to what we did with the Seltos when it was launched in 2019.”