Driving Today

Korean Automaker Hits Major Milestone

Kia’s 300,000th vehicle rolls off the assembly line at its U.S. plant.

If you need evidence that Korean automaker Kia is having a good decade, just consider this: A silver Sorento crossover utility vehicle that was recently built on its assembly in West Point, Ga., was the 300,000th vehicle produced at the Georgia plant. The landmark comes in the wake of news that Kia will ramp up its U.S. production in Georgia this September.

Kia Motors America CEO Byung Mo Ahn, who is in charge of the factory, called the event “another historic milestone.” “With three full shifts of production and the upcoming addition of the Optima, our production goals will continue to be very aggressive,” says Ahn.

In June, Kia Motors hired 1,000 new employees in order to increase production from 300,000 to 360,000 vehicles per year, bringing much-needed jobs to an ailing economy. Kia’s hiring increase should help put a dent in Georgia's high unemployment rate of almost 10 percent. The company said it is simply trying to keep up with soaring demand for models like the Sorento and the Optima. Sales continue to grow -- up 44.1 percent in June -- and show no signs of slowing. Kia Motors has been one of the only automakers to experience wide expansion and increased production rates since the economic decline.



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