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Kia Ready For Next Product Blitz

Smaller of Korean makers also studying possible 2nd US plant.

by on Sep.05, 2012

The 2014 Kia Forte will make its debut at the LA Auto Show in November.

The once very unhip Kia brand has undergone a massive makeover in recent years, thanks to a trio of hip-hop “hamstars,” a rock star of a design chief – and a blitz of new products.

The new model assault is set to continue, Kia officials reveal, at the upcoming Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows.  And to feed the growing demand for those and existing products like the Optima and Soul, Kia management is now studying the option of expanding its North American production base – a move that might include the addition of a second U.S. assembly plant.

Kia is now the fastest-growing brand in the U.S. market, noted Kia Motors America sales chief Tom Loveless, with a 78% sales surge since 2008 surpassing even Korean sibling Hyundai, as well as fast-track brands like Volkswagen and Subaru.

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After setting a 2011 sales record of 485,000 – and breaking its all-time monthly records for 24 consecutive months – Kia expects to reach another new peak this year, market share climbing to an all-time high 4.0, “if we can maintain this pace,” said Loveless, during a presentation to the Detroit Automotive Press Association.

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Short of Inventory, Hyundai Adds 3rd U.S. Shift

Move creating 877 American jobs.

by on May.01, 2012

The new 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe with the already wildly popular Elantra sedan.

The good news: American motorists are clamoring for Hyundai products. The bad news: the Korean maker doesn’t have enough to go around, so it is adding a third shift to its Alabama assembly plant in a move that should squeeze out another 20,000 vehicles annually.

It will also add another 877 jobs at the Montgomery facility, one of two assembly lines Korean manufacturers operate in the United States.  And Hyundai joins an array of other automakers, domestic and international, who have been adding thousands of jobs in recent months as the U.S. new car market continues a stronger than anticipated recovery.

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Manufacturers are expected to report sales later today that, on an annualized basis would reach at least 14.5 million, more than 1.5 million more than in 2011 if that pace were to be sustained.  Koreans Hyundai and Kia have been posting some of the biggest gains of any makers; Hyundai set an all-time record last month, but it has been running into serious capacity problems this year.

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Supplier Fire Shuts Down Kia’s Georgia Plant

by on Mar.19, 2012

A partially assembled Optima rolls down the line at the Kia plant in West Point, Georgia.

A fire at a key supplier plant has forced Kia to temporarily suspend production at its own factory in West Point, Georgia.

Even a brief shutdown is a potentially serious problem for the Korean carmaker as it has already been struggling to meet demand for products such as the midsize Optima sedan and Sorrento SUV, both produced at the Georgia facility.  The fire also complicates matters for Kia’s Korean sibling, as that assembly line also produces some of Hyundai’s Santa Fe sport-utility vehicles.

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Kia confirms it does not expect to resume production at the Georgia plant until the start of the first shift on Wednesday, according to a statement.

The maker declined to discuss details of the fire but wire reports indicate the problem follows a fire at a nearby factory operated by Korean supplier Daehan Solution.  The parts maker has not responded to an request for comment.

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Kia Confirms Plans To Build Hyundai Santa Fe At Georgia Assembly Plant

Maker claims “local” jobs will jump to 10,000 including suppliers.

by on Aug.31, 2010

Kia will add a second shift at its West Point, Ga., plant to build the Hyundai Santa Fe, opening up more capacity for Hyundai to build the Sonata at is plant in Montgomery, Ala.

Kia Motors Manufacturing has confirmed rumors it will add production of a second model at its recently opened assembly plant, in West Point, Ga.

Limited production of the Santa Fe, sold by sibling Korean carmaker Hyundai, will begin on Sept. 27.  The following month, Kia will launch a second shift at the Georgia assembly line.

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Current employment at the plant is about 1,900, and will grow to about 2,500 with the addition of the second shift. Including local suppliers and other support operations, Kia claims total Georgia employment for the plant will reach about 10,000.

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