Top Korean nameplate Kia is to strengthen its presence in Sri Lanka with a distributor dealership model following the recent corporate structure change which saw Managing Director Mahen Thambiah securing 100 percent ownership with a total investment of Rs.1.02 billion.
The seamless transition has been achieved with no reduction in employee numbers or changes of key personnel and will enable Kia to introduce exciting new vehicle models that are competitive in the current market dynamics, while enhancing aftersales service levels for existing Kia owners, Thambiah said. With its new Rs.800 million logistics centre in Malabe as the hub for a network of owned subsidiaries and franchised satellite sales, service and spare parts outlets, the new operational structure is designed to drive a new phase of growth for Kia, one of the most popular automobile brands in the country, he said.
The recently opened state-of-the-art logistics centre offers Kia customers all their vehicle-related needs at a single location and is Kia’s largest facility in Sri Lanka. The 70,000 square-foot complex on 3.4 acres of land is purpose-designed to provide the full gamut of service needs, mechanical and collision repairs, spare parts and mechanic training, and also has a spacious showroom.
Located at No.168 on the New Kandy Road at Malabe, the centre has allocated 14,800 square-feet for its showroom, 12,400 square-feet for a central warehouse for spare parts, 16,850 square-feet for a cutting-edge mechanical repair centre, 19,220 square-feet for a collision repair centre, and 5,500 square-feet for a technical training centre.
“Our decision to spend Rs.800 million on service, repair and after-sales infrastructure at a time when the local market is faced with numerous challenges is a reflection of our commitment to Kia vehicle owners in Sri Lanka and to the Kia brand,” Thambiah said. “With this facility in place, we are ready to begin the roll out of the next phase of expansion, which will encompass existing dealerships and new franchises.”
In addition to Malabe, Kia Motors (Lanka)’s subsidiary ‘Autopoint Limited’ has made a Rs.150 million investment in a facility at Kurunegala designed and equipped to international standards. It is currently being improved and expanded according to the guidelines stipulated by Kia. It offers a spacious showroom for sales, service and spares for regular maintenance as well as light repairs at a prime location on the Colombo-Kurunegala road.
The Kia Motors (Lanka) sales and service network will be spearheaded by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries Carplan and Autopoint as 3S dealers, providing sales, service and spare parts from one location. Additionally, other appointed dealers will ensure serviceability throughout the island.
Besides its showrooms in Malabe and Kurunegala, Kia Motors (Lanka) has showrooms in Matara and Batticaloa, has appointed service dealers in Colombo, Batticaloa, Ampara, Galle and Ratnapura, and franchised Spare parts dealers in Colombo, Moratuwa, Gampaha, Kandy, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa and Matara.
The next phase of expansion, supported by the arrival of new Kia models would provide opportunities for more franchises to be opened in different parts of the country, Thambiah said. The Kia range sold in Sri Lanka by Kia Motors (Lanka) comprises the iconic Kia Sorento and Kia Sportage SUVs, the Kia Optima luxury sedan, the Kia Cerato mid-sized sedan, the Kia Rio sub-compact sedan, the Kia Soul compact SUV, the Kia Picanto compact car and the Kia Grand Carnival Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV).