The “Made in America” tag continues to become more confusing, now that Kia has become the latest Asian brand to set up a “transplant” assembly plant. The factory, in West Point, Georgia, launched production of the all-new 2011 Kia Sorento just two weeks ago.
The stylish Korean-engineered crossover could build on the brand’s already significant momentum; Kia sales have been defying gravity during the current economic downturn, posting a 7.8% increase since the beginning of the year.
The crossover market is critical for automakers hoping to take advantage of shifting consumer tastes, said Kia’s vice president of sales, Tom Loveless. “We see customers rightsizing, rather than downsizing.”
The stylish five-door is based on the Kia KND4 concept vehicle which was unveiled at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s both longer and lower than the outgoing Sienna, and is aimed at buyers who want room for 5 full-size adults, with occasional seating for 7, noted Kia’s marketing director, Michael Sprague.
The unibody-based CUV features a new McPherson strut front suspension and a mult-link rear.