Sure, it wasn’t necessarily a cure for cancer but judging from the elaborate celebration Kia hosted after rolling out production car no.1 in the US, it sure looked like one.
The 2011 Kia Sorento made history of sorts in the US after it became the first ever vehicle to be rolled out of the Kia Motors Manufacturing plant in Georgia. The occasion marks a milestone achievement for Kia as the Sorento likewise became the first-ever Kia vehicle to be built in America.
Kia’s vision to become a major player in the US took a huge step forward after the Korean automaker officially opened the 2,200 acre facility in Georgia. As it stands, the plant has over 2,500 employees and, more importantly, has the potential to produce 300,000 cars per year.
According to B.M. Ahn, president and CEO of Kia Motors America and KMMG, “The start of production at our first manufacturing facility in the United States further demonstrates our commitment to growth in North America and we are proud to be adding 2,500 jobs to the local economy.”
With the opening of the KMMG, Kia has spiked its global production capacity to over 2.56 million units year after the Georgia plant joins other production plants located in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Relatively speaking, this occasion is monumental given the circumstances surrounding the auto industry over the past couple of months. Opening a state-of-the-art facility amidst strenuous times shows that Kia is moving on to become one of the major players in the industry now and in the future.
Press release after the jump.
Kia Motors’ first US-built vehicle, a white all-new Sorento, has rolled off the production line at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), officially opening the company’s first US production plant.
KMMG is expected to produce 300,000 vehicles a year at full capacity and employ 2,500 people, with on-site and nearby suppliers creating 7,500 additional jobs in the region.
"The start of production at our first manufacturing facility in the United States further demonstrates our commitment to growth in North America and we are proud to be adding 2,500 jobs to the local economy," said B.M. Ahn, President and CEO, Kia Motors America (KMA) and KMMG.
Representing an investment of US$1 billion by Kia Motors, KMMG will establish new benchmarks for vehicle quality and productivity by utilizing some of the world’s most advanced manufacturing techniques.
KMMG’s general assembly area is outfitted with more than a half mile of height-adjustable conveyors to achieve the best installation position for each team member and reduce physical fatigue. The plant is also remarkable in being fitted with wooden flooring in the general assembly area to provide a more comfortable and forgiving work environment for team members.
Built on 2,200 acres, the complex includes a body stamping facility, a transmission shop where the Sorento’s six-speed automatic transmission is produced and a two mile test track. The plant’s 186-foot-long stamping press delivers 5,400 tons of pressure to stamp steel into 17 different types of vehicle panels for the Sorento, operating at a speed of seven to 15 strokes per minute.
The massive stamping equipment ranges from almost 20 feet below the floor to 39.4 feet above ground.
KMMG continues Kia Motors’ aggressive investment in the US market. Since 2002, more than US$1.3 billion has been invested in various facilities throughout the country, including a dedicated corporate campus and design center in Irvine, California, a state-of-the-art research and development centre in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a custom-built vehicle proving ground in Mojave, California.
Kia now has production facilities in Korea - at Hwasung, Sohari and Kwangju as well as a joint-project facility close to Hwasung - in Slovakia and in China plus CKD operations in a number of Asian and African countries plus Russia. Total global production capacity currently stands at 2.56 million vehicles per year with the opening of Georgia. That figures is comprised of 1.53 million in Korea, 430,000 in China, 300,000 in Slovakia and now 300,000 in the US.