• Oct 20, 2006
We just talked about the fact that Kia and Hyundai were scaling back sales projections for 2006, now we are learning that production will be adjusted as well. After a series of high-level scandals and ensuing postponements, Kia Motors Corp. finally broke ground on its Georgia facility today. And at the company's official groundbreaking ceremony today, it announced some changes. Most important was the announcement about where the new vehicles produced at this plant will be headed.
While Kia had originally projected U.S. sales of 800,000 vehicles a year in 2010, they are now expecting sales to be closer to 650,000 units, according to Kia CEO Chung Eui Sun. Chung and his father, Hyundai-Kia Group Chairman Chung Mong Koo, participated in the ceremonial shovel lift at Kia's first U.S. plant today. The younger Chung said that the billion dollar plant will likely ship its excess production to Latin American markets, possibly including a new-to-Kia market, Mexico. Kia CEO Chung added that production had been tabbed to begin in September 2009, but November 2009 looks more likely now.

Len Hunt, Kia Motors America executive vice president and COO, pointed out that although Kia has only moved 222,000 so far this year, it hopes to reach 300,000: "It will be a bit of a stretch, but the 300,000 target would be psychologically important," Hunt said. "The dealers are really excited that Kia is investing in America, because that's what we're continually asking them to do. It says to them that we're here to stay."

[Source: Automotive News, sub req]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford's decision to cease Tarus production,an auto that ended mostly a lease product, instead of refining the Tarus name and product apparently will leave a lot of Ford Tarus builders out of work.
      These layoff/firings may open opportunities for the Ford workers to either move or commute from the Atlanta area (85-100 miles)to the West Point, Georgia area to launch the new Kia facility.
      I'm sure the local West Point GA , Valley and Lanett Alabama labor pool will not be able to supply a work force skilled enough to assemble automobiles.
      Most of the backgrounds of residents in that area are Cotton Mill workers.
      There are questions of educational levels and a level of motivation of a nature to work in such a technically mechanized industry that produces vehicles that will have the quality that lives up to the 100K Warranty Kia offers.
      Just look at the DECREASE in QUALITY of NISSAN products produced in Missisippi. Worst educational system in the U.S.
      Hyundai does have a plant (Sonata) in Montgomery(85miles) from West Point so perhaps these will be some of the guys that get the Kia plant off and running.
      I believe Kia is and will continue to produce quality products and improve as they mature in this country.
      Obviously, F, GM and DCX are not producing the quality autos the American consumer wants to buy with his hard earned $$ and that is the major reason the TMC, Honda, Kia/Hyundai, Subaru and ?? others are successful in our country.
      Shipping excess production to Latin America/Mexico must certainly mean they plan on selling the majority of their autos in the U.S.
      Good for Hyundai/Kia for providing jobs for U.S. workers.
      That part of the country is fading economically since the Textile industry is virtually dead.
      Enough.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, 800 000 was their intial target? Talk about bold! They must have alot of confidence in their cars. Also, by offering the longest warrenty in the industry, it really seems to reinforce this observation. Hmmm... maybe I will consider the brand when I buy my next car, just to see how good of a value these cars really are.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I remember when Georgia's governor was in negotiations with Kia Motors to build the plant. (I was living in Atlanta at the time.) Kia has gained in the 2000s, managing to avoid becoming the next Isuzu. Back when I was in high school during the last Ice Age, I considered anyone who bought a Kia to be a poor fellow with no taste. Today, I guess I became one of those fellows, because some of the Kias don't look too bad to me--except the Amanti.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Where do think you are going to get the better product from the aging industry giants who have squandered their popularity and now are desperately clinging to life or forward looking companies who are hungry for a bigger piece of the pie and have, in recent years, consistently shown they are willing to take the necessary steps? I'll take companies like HyundaiKia or for that matter Suzuki and Volkswagen who are saying they want to sell more cars in North America a lot more seriously than Ford, GM or Chrysler who have alienated their customer base and now want us to buy from them just so they can stay afloat. I think hungry is a lot better motivation than desperate.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Haha, Kia is already hiring away a lot of talent from Ford, GM, Chrysler-Group. I mean, there are a lot of car-guys that love the auto industry, but they're getting destroyed by the crap that is stinking up Detroit. There are lots of people with automotive experience and enough sense about them to know that things aren't getting better at the Domestic places unless management is completely overhauled and the Union overhead gets trimmed out.

      Also, I think everybody realizes corporate loyalty is worthless. Corporate loyalty to a domestic nameplate gets you about as far as... well not as far as an import... even though both will be fast to jack you in an instant to save costs. At least, if you're going to be in the auto industry, you would want to be aligned with a firm looking to make inroads, instead of a company whose idea of a turnaround plan is to to have a decade's worth of meetings to discuss what is wrong with the current state of the company and how come the other guys can do it so well. Unless Ford or GM have their upper management cleansed from top to bottom and you get some cutthroats in to clean things up, Kia will remain way more attractive to the talent that adore a job working with cars.

      I almost wish that a certain Blue Oval would take the Bold Move in going bankrupt and then sell off its assets to Ford Motor Credit... and then have Ford Motor Credit run things with the labor unions dissolved and the upper-auto-management replaced. Ford, GM, and Chrysler can make some good cars - they just can't do it without certain handcuffs getting unlocked.
      • 8 Years Ago
      typo..."isn't"
      • 8 Years Ago
      . With everyone coming out with cheaper small cars and their bosses scandals and health, I think they have/will peak by the end of next year.

      Posted at 2:35AM on Oct 21st 2006 by Brian W
      -------------------------------
      Wanna Bet on that!?
      Hope ya don't mind LOSING!
      I'd rather push an SX-4 than drive a Big 2.5 anything.

      PS: Too bad governors in KY and Ohio messed up and did not get the Hyundai palnt 3-4 years ago, by being chepaskates on tax breaks, inatives.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yet another "foreign" automaker putting American's to work...ON American soil!

      Well, then, it's THAT a peach!

      Maybe they can put to work those that are being terminated / laid-off at GM and Ford.

      This is good news. The "Diversity" of the "American" automotive manufacturing landscape is now like the "Colors of the Rainbow"!!

      You Middle-Americans, you need to Celebrate, yes, CELEBRATE DIVERSITY!!!

      Just think of all the cultural benefits this is bringing to Americans. Why, I may just invite one of those Korean's over for Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

      Keep 'em coming...keep 'em coming!

      • 8 Years Ago
      With everyone coming out with cheaper small cars and their bosses scandals and health, I think they have/will peak by the end of next year.