SEOUL, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Kia Motors needs to set up a factory in India to tap growth there and offset slowing sales in Russia and China, the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper quoted the South Korean automaker's chief executive as saying.
India is expected to become the world's third largest auto market by next year, according to industry data provider IHS. Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor Co, currently has no production in India, and high import taxes mean Kia's India sales are also 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," Kia CEO Park Han-woo, a former head of Hyundai Motor's Indian unit, told the newspaper.
The report gave no further details and a Kia Motors spokesman said the automaker had "no current plan to build a new factory in India or enter the market".
Park also said Kia was developing a rival to Toyota Motor's Prius hybrid cars, but gave no details. Hyundai Motor has said it plans to roll out a hybrid-dedicated model this year. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Miral Fahmy)