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Why Kia Bet on Georgia

Incentives only part of the reasons for first U.S. assembly plant.

by on Nov.30, 2009

Eventually, Kia hopes to employ 2,500 workers at its new assembly plant in West Point, Georgia.

Eventually, Kia hopes to employ 2,500 workers at its new assembly plant in West Point, Georgia.

Just over three years ago, I attended the ground breaking ceremony for the new Kia factory in West Point, Georgia. The weather was soggy and damp and there wasn’t much to see beyond a hilly, 2,100- acre site that the Korean automakers promised to turn into one of North America’s assembly plant – a heck of a stretch for a company long known for building econocars using cheap labor.

But just a few weeks ago, as I turned off the specially constructed exit ramp and turned onto Kia Avenue, I had another chance to visit the site where my first glimpse revealed  an ultra modern, pristine automotive manufacturing campus gleaming in the warm sun. Three years had brought changes. Major changes.

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The factory was finished, the production line running, stamping presses installed, welding operations opened, paint shop ready and training of first employees had been completed.  The new, $1 billion factory was warming-up the production line to produce the new, 2010 Kia Sorento crossover vehicle.  Since my latest trip to Georgia, the facility has gone from prototypes to market-ready versions of the Sorento

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First Look: 2010 Kia Cadenza

Like its Korean sibling, Kia is moving up-market.

by on Oct.19, 2009

The production version of the KND-5 concept vehicle, the 2010 Kia Cadenza.

The production version of the KND-5 concept vehicle, the 2010 Kia Cadenza.

There may come a time when we’ll look back and try to remember when Korean cars might have best been described as cheap and cheerful.  These days, the Asian makers are moving decidedly up-market, as this pic of the 2010 Kia Cadenza clearly illustrates.

The other Korean brand, Hyundai, has already stepped up the automotive ladder with its Genesis sedan – winner of this year’s prestigious North American Car of the Year award.  Hyundai plans to press even further into luxury territory with the Equus sedan, planned for launch sometime next year. But those who thought Hyundai’s sibling Kia division would be left to focus on the entry auto market might have to think again.

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The Latest Product News!

The 2010 Kia Cadenza is the production version of the maker’s well-received KND-5 concept vehicle.  We’ll get our first look at the actual sheet metal at the Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Kuwait motor shows, later this year.

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