October 23, 2006

Kia breaks ground for first U.S. manufacturing plant

Seoul, South Korea – Kia Motors has held a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of its first-ever U.S. manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia. The US$1 billion automotive assembly and manufacturing plant is central to the company’s plans to increase its sales in North America to around 650,000 units by 2010.

The facility, named KMMG (Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia), is scheduled to begin production in 2009, and is expected to produce 300,000 vehicles a year at full capacity. It will employ approximately 2,500 local workers; five to six suppliers have plans to set up operations nearby, creating an additional 2,000 jobs. A total of around ten suppliers are eventually expected to locate in the vicinity.

The American plant comes on the heels of Kia’s second manufacturing plant in China, scheduled for completion next year, and the start of production at its first European facility in Slovakia this November. With the U.S. plant, the company’s total annual overseas production capacity will be around one million units. Kia also has an R&D centre in Michigan, a custom-built vehicle proving ground in the Mojave Desert, and the largest automotive design studio in California; it is also currently constructing a brand-new, US$85 million corporate headquarter building in Irvine, California, scheduled for occupancy in January 2007. The building will also be home to a Kia-exclusive design centre to be completed later in 2007. Following construction of the KMMG facility, Kia will have the capability to localize all of its business in the U.S., from R&D and production to marketing, sales and after-service.

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