SEOUL (Reuters) -- Kia Motors needs to set up a factory in India to tap growth there and offset slowing sales in Russia and China, Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo newspaper quoted the automaker's CEO, Park Han-woo, as saying.
India is expected to become the world's third largest auto market by next year, according to industry data provider IHS Automotive.
Kia, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor Co., currently has no production in India, and high import taxes mean Kia's India sales are almost negligible.
By contrast, Hyundai has two factories in India and is the country's second-largest automaker after Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.
"While growth in Russia or China is stagnating, India is where Kia will ultimately make a leap forward," Park, a former head of Hyundai Motor's Indian unit, told the newspaper.
The report gave no further details and a Kia spokesman said the automaker had "no current plan to build a new factory in India or enter the market."
Park was also quoted in the report as saying that Kia is developing a rival to Toyota Motor's Prius hybrid cars, but gave no further details. Hyundai has said it plans to roll out a dedicated hybrid model this year.