Seoul, South Korea – Kia will add a third production shift and hire 1,000 new employees at its European production facility in Slovakia to keep up with rising demand. The third shift will start in the first quarter of 2012.

“The creation of the third shift at Zilina is the latest step in Kia’s long-term process of building cars locally to best meet local consumers’ needs and tastes,” said Paul Philpott, COO of Kia Motors Europe. “Strong demand for all our models and especially our new Sportage compact SUV, made here in Europe, means we need to significantly increase production at our Slovakia facility.”

The plant builds the Sportage, Venga and Cee’d, all of which can be manufactured simultaneously on each of the flexibility final assembly lines.

In 2010, Kia manufactured more than 729,000 vehicles outside of Korea, with production in Europe, China and the U.S. accounting for 34.2 per cent of its global total of 2.1 million units. The company has also added a third shift to its plant in Georgia, which builds the Sorento and Optima.

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