Car India - - CONTENTS -

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.


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