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Kia Announces $1 billion Mexican Assembly Plant

Factory set to open in 2016; add much-needed production capacity.

by on Aug.28, 2014

The new plant is expected to produce several small models, including a version of the Kia Forte Koup.

Desperate to add more much-needed production capacity, Kia Motors will become the latest automaker to open a new assembly plant in Mexico.

Intended to serve markets up and down the Americas, the $1 billion plant will begin operations in just two years, and will be tooled to eventually build as many as 300,000 vehicles annually. The facility is expected to produce a number of different compact models, according to the Korean carmaker, though it did not identify specific plans yet.

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The factory will become one of a growing list of automotive assembly plants operating in the Spanish-speaking country, Mexico already on target to become the sixth-largest auto-producing nation in the world as makers such as Nissan, Audi and now Kia set up shop or expand existing production facilities.


First Look: 2014 Kia Cadenza

New sedan reveals Korean maker's upscale aspirations.

by on Jan.15, 2013

The 2014 Kia Cadenza displays the latest take on the Korean maker's Tiger Nose design.

Like Hyundai, its better-known Korean sibling, Kia has some aggressive upscale aspirations – and it’s revealing what’s in store with the new 2014 Cadenza premium sedan making its first appearance at the North American International Auto Show.

As with other recent Kia offerings, such as the stylish Optima, the bigger model adopts a sleeker and more upscale appearance developed under the guidance of former Audi designer Peter Schreyer, who has led the dramatic transformation of the Korean brand since joining Kia five years ago.

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Known as the K7 in the Korean market, the new 2014 Kia Cadenza is slightly longer than the BMW 5-Series, albeit a bit narrower.  It shares the same underlying platform as the Hyundai Azera and will go up against such competitors as the Acura RL and the newly restyled Toyota Avalon – as well as Chevrolet’s 2014 Impala update.


First Look: Kia K9 Luxury Flagship

Is the maker barking up the right tree with its latest push up-market?

by on Feb.28, 2012

Kia will launch a new rear-drive flagship, the K9.

Kia has been doggedly moving up-market, in recent years, and with the launch of its new K9 luxury flagship it will mark a dramatic shift from the cheap-and-cheerful little econoboxes that used to define the Korean carmaker’s line-up.

The formal announcement of the rear-drive model echoes the strategy followed by sibling brand Hyundai, which scored big with the launch of the big Genesis sedan in 2007, and last year’s launch of the even larger and more upscale Equus.

While Kia isn’t releasing details on the K9, it’s believed to be sharing many of the same underpinnings – and powertrain options – of the rear-drive Hyundai line, such as the 5.0-liter direct-injection V-8 offered in both the Genesis and Equus.

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Though traditional Korea buyers might be surprised to see such a large and lavishly equipped offering at their local Kia showroom the new K9 won’t seem completely unfamiliar.  It features the brand’s stock pinched grille and fender vents.  But the overall design feel is more elegant if not exactly all-new.  There is at least one place where the maker nudges the cutting edge, opting for LED headlamps as well as taillights, technology the rest of the luxury market is just migrating to.


Kia Expects U.S. Sales to Surge Past 500,000

Pushing for more product.

by on Jan.10, 2012

The midsize Optima sedan has been a transformational product for the Kia brand.

After setting a blistering pace during the past three years, Kia Motors America expects sales to continue climbing well past 500,000 units in 2012 even though it will not be launching any new products for the first time in recent years.

Kia sales increased 36% last year to 485,000 units in the US as its rebuilt product line and its clever and aggressive advertising — featuring dancing hamsters and stars from the National Basketball Association — helped draw new customers into U.S. showrooms. Overall, sales of new light-duty vehicles increased 8% in 2011, so Kia gained market share as well as volume.

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“You have to remember we were capacity constrained last year,” said Michael Sprague, Kia vice president of marketing and public relations.“ Between November of 2008 and November of 2011, Kia sales grew 78% as it rolled out the Kia Soul, Kia Optima and Kia Sorento.


Fast-Growing Kia Expanding Georgia Plant

Sales booming, capacity growing to 360,000 vehicles.

by on Jun.02, 2011

Kia will begin producing the 2012 version of its Optima sedan at West Point later this year.

Fresh on the heels of a 53% jump in May sales, Kia has announced plans to spend $100 million on a series of expansion projects at its assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, as part of a plan to focus on domestic production for an expanding U.S. market.

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Inc. expects that by the time the project is through the still-new factory will see capacity jump by roughly 50%, to 360,00 units cars and crossovers annually.

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The expansion follows Kia Motors’ announcement at the 2011 New York International Auto Show that the award-winning Optima midsize sedan will be added to the plant’s production line.


Kia Reports Big Bump In Earnings

Hyundai’s “weak” sibling defies critics.

by on Nov.01, 2010

The launch of the new Optima is expected to drive a strong performance for Kia during the fourth quarter and beyond.

Defying critics, the once-bankrupt Kia has posted a 66% increase in earnings for the third quarter, and with strong global demand and some critical new product in the pipeline the Korean carmaker is looking at further gains in the final three months of the year, according to forecasts.

Net income for the quarter ending September 30 soared to 666.6 billion won, or $593 million, compared with 402 billion during the third quarter of 2009, the maker reports.  Significantly, that was more than 30% better than the 504 billion won forecast by a consensus of industry analysts compiled by the Bloomberg news service.

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Revenues rose by 26%, to 5.69 trillion won reflecting a 24% global increase in unit sales.  Notably, in the Korean home market, Kia volumes were up 25%, even as the maker’s “stronger” parent brand, Hyundai, reported a decline of 12%.

The latest and projected numbers underscore the dramatic turnaround underway at Kia, which was taken under the Hyundai wing when it nearly collapsed in 1999, during the Asian economic meltdown.


Kia Begins Production at First U.S. Plant

Maker aiming for big jump in sales and share.

by on Nov.16, 2009

The new Kia assembly plant, in West Point, Georgia, will eventually employ 2,500 workers and have a capacity of up to 300,000 vehicles annually.

The new Kia assembly plant, in Georgia, will eventually employ 2,500 workers and have a capacity of up to 300,000 vehicles annually.

A white Sorrento crossover vehicle rolled off the assembly line, in West Point, Georgia, today, marking the start of production at Kia’s first U.S. assembly plant.

The new, $1.2 billion facility will eventually employ 2,500 workers on the line, and another 7,500 to support the plant, the automaker said, with production capacity to reach 300,000 vehicles annually.

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“The start of production for our first manufacturing facility in the United States further demonstrates our commitment to growth in North America and we are proud to be adding 2,500 jobs to the local economy,” said B.M. Ahn, President and CEO, Kia Motors America (KMA) and KMMG, during a ceremony to mark the opening of the West Point plant.