Play a central role in the new west coast era in Korea
The completion of construction of the Inchon-Mokpo Seohaean (West Coast) Highway, with a total construction cost of 4.7758 trillion won, will have an enormous impact on the nation-wide logistics system and people’s driving convenience. The cost saved in logistics, with its completion in 20 years, is estimated to be 11.26 trillion.
Kia Motor’s Hwasung Plant, the largest one among those located along the new highway, is said to enjoy the biggest benefits from its completion. The Factory (sized 3.31 million m²) in Hwasung, Gyeonggi Province, was built in December 1990 and is now playing a central role for exports of strategic vehicle models through Pyeongtaek Port.
The Plant, where more than 10,000 employees work, boasts the production capacity of 600,000 vehicles a year, including Carens, Sportage, Spectra and Enterprise. It is known not only as the largest Kia Motors factor but also as the one showing the most profitable operation.
It also boasts the highest possible quality control (95% of its products pass the final production test), well-readiness for launch of the Sorento to be introduced in the market next year, 94% realization of operation rate, a 10% productivity improvement rate and cost reduction worth 9.8 billion won, and attained the target of being an environment-friendly and disaster-free factory.
The Hwasung Plant accounts for 60% of the production of cars they exported. Most of the vehicles produced here are being exported through nearby Pyongtaek Port. 60-70% of the vehicles produced here for domestic sales are shipped from the Plant and transported in the direction of Seoul.
Others shipped from this factory are transported to Kia’s distribution centers below South Chungcheong Province or Gunsan Port. One official at Kia says that the transportation expenses that can be saved with completion of the Inchon-Mokpo highway will be enormous.
Kia’s employees working at the plant will also enjoy a lot of geographical advantages from the new highway. About a third of them come to work from areas in or near Ansan or Siheung. It usually took about 5 hours for them to commute to and from work. And now it only takes two and a half hours, with completion of the new highway. Its being close to the west Pyeongtaek Exit of the highway also makes it possible for employees to commute from a rather distant place, which would have been quite unthinkable before highway completion. It is possible to guess that in this way the Factory is now in a more advantageous position to secure a skilled work force.
It used to take four and half hours to get to Kia’s Headquarters in Yangjae-dong, Seoul. And it now takes two and a half hours, contributing to higher efficiency in the entire operation.
The plant has also become the center of attention as a destination of industrial tourists, together with the Soehaean (West Coast) Grand Bridge on the highway, a new tourist attraction with its scenic beauty and backdrop of the West Sea.
With fierce competition in the domestic vehicle market, the nation’s vehicle manufacturers are looking to overseas markets. You cannot overemphasize the significance of the new highway and the nation’s new era, giving importance to the west coast, in view of the fact that neighboring China’s potential demand for vehicles comes to 60 million in total.
A plant official says that the Company expects the plant to play a central role in the new west coast era and as the production center for exported vehicles.