During the framework installation ceremony held at Kia Motor's first Indian plant in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh on February 22, 2018, in the presence of Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu, Han Woo Park, President and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation, said he believed that Kia would bring in a lot of changes not just to the state of Andhra Pradesh but also to India. The 214-hectare plant which will provide jobs to 3,000 locals, is currently one month ahead of schedule and Kia plans to launch its first car much before Diwali 2019.
The following are the excerpts from the interview with Kia Motors India's Executive Director, Sales & Marketing, Yong Sung Kim.
What are Kia’s marketing plans for India?
We have already started Kia’s marketing with the Auto Expo 2018 in Delhi. We had a very big stall there and we showed the SP Concept, which we will produce in our factory as the first car. We have already started our marketing activities; a big digital activity is going on in Facebook and Twitter and there has been a huge response. In two weeks time we have already crossed 160,000 followers on Facebook and 50,000 followers on Twitter. We are very overwhelmingly received in the country and that’s very nice but our concern is how we can grow further. This is our challenge. We will make it!
When are you planing to launch the SP Concept?
We are expecting to launch it in the second half of 2019. Definitely before Diwali but we are very excited and may prepone it. So, we are pushing for an earlier launch.
What will be your marketing and advertising strategies?
The product differentiation as well as the market differentiation is very important actually, and it is a challenge. We, as a new brand, have to do it, otherwise we may become just another brand. Though we are a public brand (a commonly used brand by the general public), but if you see our cars, they have a premium look. Their design is superb and they are ‘dynamic’ and ‘youthful’. We will go with all this as our marketing language.
Who do you see as your competitors?
I don’t think Kia will compete with other competitors. They all are going in their own way. Maruti is going its own way, Hyundai is going its own way and so are the Japanese companies. We are also going in our own way. In 2023-2025, the market size is expected to double. By 2025, according to the forecast, it (market size) will be almost 7 million and by 2030, it will be 9 million. So, by is the forecast, if the economies grow and everything grows, in this scenario, we don’t need to have competition. They will go their own way, we will go our own way. Like I said, with our marketing language, with a little bit of premium niche, with our design language…. I don’t say it’s a niche product, it’s a public product, but people will feel the difference from our product.
Do you have any plans to introduce EVs in India?
Actually, even at this moment, we’re selling EVs all over the world. ‘Soul’, which was displayed at the Auto Expo 2018 in Delhi, is selling very well in America. We took around 4 per cent of the market share among the eco-friendly car sales globally. It is the same as our global strategy. Last year, we sold more than 2.8 million cars globally (all cars) and in that the eco-friendly car share was around 4 per cent. We already have all the technology… plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle and even fuel cell hybrid vehicles. Anytime, if the infrastructure is ready, we can introduce (cars in India). We are all set, even at this moment.
Can you tell us about Kia’s brand-new plant at Anantapur?
The Kia plant in Anantapur is a very eco-friendly plant. We don’t waste any water because India has so much water shortage, so, any water which we are bringing into our factory, everything is recycled, we are that eco-friendly. The capacity of the plant is 3 lakh cars. Engine shops, paint shops, press shops, body shops, assembly shops, everything is inside. We have secured two complexes for supply chains. They will supply to us and we will make our cars and once we make and sell 3 lac cars, even if we start selling in the current condition, I can say, we can be top 5 immediately.