The Indian car market is going to see a new manufacturer enter next year in the form of Kia Motors of South Korea. They have already started putting up a brand-new manufacturing unit in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh. The work is in full swing; in fact, it is going ahead of schedule.
Last month Kia Motors invited us to South Korea to see their R&D facility and drive some of their cars. One thing that struck me was that Kia have only been making cars since 1974 and how far they have come as compared to the Indian manufacturers who have been making cars for a much longer time. Even with the head start we are not capable of matching up to the Koreans. Forget the Indian manufacturers giving the Koreans a fight, the Koreans are taking on the German and Japanese car-makers and giving them a run for their money; in some cases, they are even setting the benchmark. They are not only present in the small-car segment but they are making big strides in the luxury segment. The Kia K900 that I drove will prove to be serious competition for European luxury cars.
The latest news is that Audi have tied up with the Hyundai Kia group for fuel-cell technology. In fact, I visited their fuel cell R&D centre and saw all the work being done there. The head of the department said that fuel cell, and not electric, would be the technology for the future.
ASPI BHATHENA EDITOR