Anantapuramu (Andhra Pradesh), Jan 29 (PTI): Korean automobile-maker Kia Motors Corporation Tuesday commenced trial of its flagship SP2i sports utility vehicle (SUV) at its first plant in India. Also Read - Unable to Afford Elder Daughter's Treatment, Andhra Parents Sell Their 12-year-old Child For 10K

The plant is located in Anantapuramu district of Andhra Pradesh. Also Read - Why Are Donkeys Disappearing From Andhra Pradesh? Reports Claim They Are Being Illegally Slaughtered For Meat

The SP2i was first showcased at India Auto Expo in New Delhi in 2018. Also Read - Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Polls 2021: Final Phase of Polling Underway

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu launched the trial in the presence of South Korean Ambassador to India Shin Bongkil.

President of Kia Motors Corporation and chief executive officer (CEO) Han-Woo Park and managing director and CEO of Kia Motors India and Kookhyun Shim were present.

The eighth largest automobile manufacturer in the world, Kia Motors is expected to roll its first car out of the Anantapuramu plant only in the second half of 2019.

“Commencing trial production is a significant moment that we have been preparing for as we take on the challenges of future mobility across India,” Park said.

“India will play an important role in expanding Kia Motors’ global footprint and this is the start of another chapter of our success story in India,” he said.

To further its future mobility partnership with the Andhra Pradesh government, Kia handed over a model of its new Kia Soul electric vehicle to the Chief Minister.

“This partnership reinforces commitment of Kia to supporting the government in promoting the uptake of electric vehicles and developing a local electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” Shim said.

The new Kia plant features cutting-edge manufacturing processes, including advanced robotics and Artificial Intelligence, the company said.

Spread over 536 acres, the plant has an annual production capacity of upto three lakh units.

An integrated automotive production facility, the Anantapuramu plant adopts state-of-the-art production technologies, with more than 300 robots automating the press, body and paint shops.

Kia and its vendor partners are expected to invest USD two billion to create 3,000 direct and about 7,000 indirect jobs in the region.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.