Officially confirming what we've all but known for some time now, Kia announced this morning that its West Point, Georgia plant will add a second vehicle to its production line, the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The move will also be paired with the addition of a second shift beginning October 1, although limited production of the Santa Fe is earmarked to ramp-up on September 27.
Since Hyundai/Kia has dropped the idea of a pickup truck, Kia's new assembly plant in West Point, Georgia will instead turn out small cars. The first vehicle that will roll off the assembly lines in 2009 is Kia's Sorento, with body on frame construction well suited to a pickup. What doesn't seem primed for a pickup, however, is a softening market, so Kia has decided to redouble its efforts on small cars.
As the fallout from the Korean government's investigation into Hyundai Motor Co. begins to impact company operations, both Hyundai and subsidiary Kia Motors have postponed construction of new manufacturing facilities in Europe and the U.S.