South Korean auto major Kia Motors plans to expand its sales network to over 300 touchpoints in India by the end of the current financial year, as it looks to bolster presence in areas where it is not that well represented currently, a senior company official said. The company, which has raced to the fifth position in terms of sales in the domestic passenger vehicle segment with just one model in its portfolio, aims to add new sales outlets in smaller cities and towns in order to be nearer to its prospective customers. The enhanced presence in terms of sales network would also help the company rake in additional numbers as it readies to drive in its second product in the country in February next year.
"We started with 260 odd touchpoints and now, we intend to increase the count by another 50. There are certain areas like the northeast, the northern part of Telangana, Karnataka, western Rajasthan, etc., where we are not very well represented. So, we are looking to plug such gaps," Kia Motors India Head Marketing and Sales Manohar Bhat told PTI. The company wants to be fully prepared in terms of the network before new products are launched, he added. Kia plans to launch multi-purpose vehicle Carnival during the Auto Expo next year in February. It could be followed by another product later in the year as the company has already started to introduce six cars in three years, one model every six months. "With Carnival coming in next, we want to be fully prepared for that and want to be nearer to the customer," Bhat said.
The company's order book for Seltos currently stands at over 62,000 units. It has already delivered 33,000 units of the model so far in the market. With demand high for the model, the waiting period for some of the top-end trims has stretched to around three months. In order to reduce the waiting period, the company has initiated a second shift at its Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) plant. "Earlier, we were producing around 6,500 units a month and now, it has gone up to around 13,000 units...it is a team effort as even vendors need to increase their capacities. There were issues with some of the suppliers but as of now it stands resolved," Bhat said.
Later with more models coming in the company would increase the production capacity further, he added. Kia has invested $2 billion in India, including $1.1 billion at its manufacturing facility which has a capacity to produce three lakh units annually. Globally, the South Korean automaker sells its products in over 180 countries.