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Hyundai's subsidiary Kia Motors to set foot in India

Kia Motors, a subsidiary of Korea-based Hyundai Motor Company, is all set to enter India.

The company, which sells cars such as 'Sportage' compact SUV, 'Soul' cross-over and 'Rio' hatchback across Europe, China, the US and in its home market Korea, feels that entry into India is critical as the country gains volumes and races towards becoming the third-biggest car market globally by 2020, as forecast by many agencies.

Kia is already in the process of identifying land for its factory and is looking at possible models and suppliers. According to sources, Kia’s factory may even be used by Hyundai to manufacture some of its models.  Hyundai is about to reach peak output at its factory near Chennai and has been cutting back on export shipments to make space for new models.

Kia, which sold a little over three million vehicles last year, has been eyeing the Indian market for many years and has also completed a detailed feasibility study. However, it had refrained from making any investments here following the slowdown faced over the past few years and its own expansion projects in many other markets including China.

It may take at least two to three years before Kia starts selling cars in India as it has to identify land for the factory, get the required permissions and clearances from various authorities concerned.

According to a company source, Kia will set up a separate retail network and will have a distinct identity, similar in all the other markets where Hyundai is also present. The dealerships will be in line with Kia's retail philosophy and will have no front-end linkages with Hyundai.