Kia Motors opens new plant in Georgia, USA

Kia Motors opens new plant in Georgia, USA  
Filed under:
News, Kia
on 03/02/2010

Source: Kia Motors

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) celebrated the official opening of Kia’s first-ever U.S. automobile manufacturing plant this weekend. The state-of-the-art plant in West Point, Georgia is capable of producing 300,000 cars annually for the North American and global markets.

Mr Mong-Koo Chung, Chairman of Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group was one of many VIPs from Korea and the US to attend the opening ceremony. Mr Byung-Mo Ahn, Group President and CEO of KMMG and Kia Motors America (KMA) commented “Kia is proud to call West Point, Georgia home and we look forward to many years of growing together.

“Continued diligence has helped elevate Kia to one of the fastest growing automobile brands around the globe. With the successful launch of the new Kia Sorento last month, and the opening of our first manufacturing plant in the United States, the Kia brand is well positioned for further growth and to become a worldwide leader in quality and innovation.”

Representing a $1 billion investment by Kia Motors Corporation, the sprawling, 2.2 million-square-foot (204,000 metre-squared) plant is situated on more than 2,200 acres of land.

The site has four main shops: stamping, welding, paint and assembly plus a transmission shop, module shop and a two-mile test track where every vehicle produced by KMMG will be thoroughly tested.

The general assembly area is outfitted with more than a half mile of height-adjustable conveyors to achieve the most favourable installation position for each employee and reduce physical fatigue. To create a more comfortable and forgiving work environment, wooden flooring is fitted throughout the assembly area.

KMMG’s cutting-edge technology ensures high productivity and high efficiency for each process. The stamping press delivers 5,400 tons of pressure and an automatic panel loading system; the fully automated welding shop boasts 242 welding robots; the paint shop uses eco-friendly, water-soluble coatings; and various systems are in place to keep inventory to a minimum via timely parts delivery.

Another highlight is the real-time processing and control system (RPCS) which feeds parts to the production line. It includes a digital signboard enabling timely and appropriate supply of parts via connection to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which contains all production data. RPCS also minimises inventory in the parts warehouse by matching the flow on the production line.

KMMG also features a railway system within the grounds to facilitate transportation. Parts and finished cars are transported into and out of the site via roads and railway in the vicinity.

At the opening ceremony, Governor Perdue outlined his hopes for the continuation of a mutually beneficial partnership between the State of Georgia and Kia that will mean many great things for the State in years to come.

“This is a momentous event for Georgia as Kia Motors has brought thousands of new jobs to this area, and is truly delivering as a tremendous corporate citizen. We value our relationship with Kia and pledge to continue providing specialised training through the Kia Georgia Training Centre that will guarantee a quality workforce and the future success of this plant.”

The massive Kia automobile manufacturing plant and its supplier companies have already provided thousands of jobs. KMMG currently employs more than 1,200 people and is expected to nearly double that number by the end of the year, while onsite and nearby suppliers will create up to 7,500 additional jobs in the region.

Mass production of the all-new 2011 Kia Sorento began on November 16, 2009 with the product officially going on sale in the U.S. in January of this year. Selling 7,398 units in its first month, the 2011 Sorento was Kia’s best-selling vehicle in January.

“The outstanding early performance of the first vehicle produced from our new plant is a significant achievement for KMMG, KMA and the Kia brand as a whole.” said Ahn.

“As we grow we will continue to expand our line of vehicles here and abroad while staying true to the Kia brand tenets of value, quality, safety and technology; and KMMG will play a prominent role in achieving our goals” he concluded.

Despite the industry downturn amid the global recession, Kia Motors’ car sales in the US grew by 9.8% over the previous year to 300,063 units in 2009. Kia aims to increase sales by 15.6% to 347,000 vehicles in 2010.

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