- Ceremony attended by some 500 VIPS from Korea and the U.S.
- All-new Sorento CUV entered mass production in November 2009
- KMMG plans to nearly double employment by the end of year
(SEOUL) February 27, 2010 -- Officials with Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), Inc. were joined by dignitaries from the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, the State of Georgia, local city and county officials to celebrate the official grand opening of Kia's first-ever U.S. automobile manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, capable of producing 300,000 cars annually for the North American and global markets.
The ceremony was attended by approximately 500 VIPs from Korea and the U.S., including Chairman of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group Mong-Koo Chung; Group President and CEO of KMMG and Kia Motors America (KMA) Byung-Mo Ahn; Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue; and a number of other high-ranking Korean government and State of Georgia officials.
"Kia is proud to call West Point, Georgia home and we look forward to many years of growing together," said Ahn. "Continued diligent work has helped elevate Kia to one of the fastest growing automobile brands around the globe. With the successful launch of the 2011 Kia Sorento CUV and establishment 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, new 2.2 million-square-foot (204,000 meter-squared) automobile manufacturing plant is situated on more than 2,200 acres of land. MMG consists of four main shops: stamping, welding, paint and assembly. The site also includes a transmission shop, module shop and a two-mile test track where every vehicle produced by KMMG will be thoroughly tested. KMMG's general assembly area is outfitted with more than a half mile of height-adjustable conveyors to achieve the most favorable installation position for each team member and reduce physical fatigue. It is outfitted with wood flooring, which provides a more comfortable and forgiving work environment for team members.
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 & 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 minimizes 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.
Governor Perdue noted today's event meant 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 day for Georgia as Kia Motors has brought thousands of new jobs to this area, and is truly delivering as a tremendous corporate citizen," said Governor Perdue. "We value our relationship with Kia and pledge to continue providing specialized training through the Kia Georgia Training Center that will guarantee a quality workforce and the future success of this plant in Georgia."
The massive Kia automobile manufacturing plant and its supplier companies have already provided thousands of jobs. KMMG currently employs more than 1,200 team members 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 CUV began on Nov. 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 West Point, Georgia 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."
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.
KMMG plant video footage in broadcast-standard or streaming-quality (for Web use), print-quality stills and other press material are available at Kia Motors' Multimedia Library (www.kiamotors.com), powered by The NewsMarket (www.thenewsmarket.com/kiamotors). Delivery options include digital FTP transfer and streaming download in a variety of file types including Flash, MPEG-2, QuickTime and Windows Media. Registration and content is free to the media.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com) -- a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world's premier automotive brands. Over 1.5 million vehicles a year are produced in 13 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 172 countries. Kia today has over 42,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of over US$14.6 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA -- the governing body of the FIFA World Cup(tm). Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan -- "The Power to Surprise" -- represents the company's global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.