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]