When it comes to vehicle manufacturing in India, Tamil Nadu is one of the most preferred states. The southern state is often referred to as the Detroit of South Asia owning to plants of automobile majors Daimler, BMW, Hyundai, Renault-Nissan, Ford and Ashok Leyland. Maharashtra is the next best in the business with Mahindra, Tata Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen and other under the belt. However, Andhra Pradesh was never in the frame until South Korean carmaker Kia Motors decided to build their first plant in India at Anantapur district.
While Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat are the hotbeds of vehicle manufacturing in India, Kia Motors decision to set up its plant at southern state of Andhra Pradesh may sound like a senseless move. Despite all the odds, Kia Motors India and Government of Andhra Pradesh signed the deal in April 2017 and the plant construction in Yerramanchi village at Penukonda Mandal of Anantapur is currently in full swing.
Kia Motors India Anantapur plant
The South Korean carmaker is investing over $1 billion to set up its new manufacturing facility in India. The 536 acres plant will have 3 lakh units of production capacity and it will employ around 3,000 when fully operational. Kia Motors conducted the framework installation ceremony in February this year is in top gear and now inching closer to the finishing construction and trail run has been scheduled in early 2019.
The Anantapur plant consists of a press shop, body shop, paint booth, assembly line, engine and transmission manufacturing units, a giant test track, a large canteen and others. Kia Motors has also set up a training centre and a new township is under construction on the other side of National Highway 44 where the plant is located.
Kia Motors training centre
In June this year, Kia Motors India inaugurated a 5-acre training facility right opposite to the plant. The company also introduced a Basic Technical Course (BTC) in automobiles for skill development. The course has been designed for anyone who wishes to work in the automobile sector at the entry level in collaboration with Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC). As a part of the course, various batches of trainees will undergo a five day BTC training which will provide the basic technical skills required. The selected candidates will be inducted to Kia Motors India plant.
Kia Motors plant transforming Anantapur
Before the arrival of Kia Motors, Anantapur was just another district in the southwestern part of the state with no manufacturing pedigree. Andhra Pradesh has marketed itself as a dream investment destination after the separate state of Telangana was carved out of it in 2014. CM of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu was keen to bring Kia Motors to his state and Anantapur is now reaping the benefit. Along with the Kia Motors plant, many ancillary industries producing parts for the automaker have started working on their units in the vicinity of Anantapur and it is expected to create a job opportunity of up to 10,000. The proximity to Bengaluru International Airport and Chennai port also open the door for easy exports for Kia Motors in the future.
Kia Motors plant is expected to be the harbinger of Anantapur's quest to become a new vehicle manufacturing hub in India. Future investors cannot turn their back to Anantapur for the unprecedented support from administration and availability land. A new Detroit of South India in the making?