End of a Global Journey — A New Beginning for Georgia’s Future
Posted on October 28th, 2008 by Patrick Sands
West Point, Ga. Oct. 28, 2008 — Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and KMA/KMMG President and CEO Byung Mo Ahn welcomed more than 300 dignitaries, local citizens and Kia team members as they held a ceremony to commemorate the arrival of one of the final, and largest, pieces of the press equipment that will be used to shape automobile parts when the $1 billion facility begins production.
“The arrival of this equipment is a major milestone in the building of our Georgia plant,” said President Ahn, “but it is also more than that. The global journey of this equipment represents Kia’s success as a global automobile brand. It represents Kia’s full and complete commitment to building the most advanced automotive manufacturing facility in the world right here in West Point. And its safe arrival here today is testimony to the successful partnerships we have developed with Governor Perdue and his entire Georgia team.”
President Ahn expressed particular appreciation for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which has led the Georgia team on the project from the beginning and has been critical in all aspects of the site’s development; the Georgia Ports Authority, whose capabilities made the arrival of such a massive cargo possible; the Georgia Department of Transportation, which has built a new exit along I-85 which will open soon leading directly to the facility, developed additional roadways through the complex, and which escorted the numerous shipments of cargo from Savannah; and Georgia Quick Start, Kia’s workforce development and training partner which has led the assessment, selection and training process for Kia’s team members, and which also designed and built a flexible, state-of-the-art training center.
“Kia is committed to Georgia, and Georgia is committed to Kia,” said Gov. Sonny Perdue. “We are committed to doing whatever we can to facilitate the completion of this facility, and I am proud that they have been able to perform with efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism to help get this cargo here. Also, through our Quick Start program, we are able to prepare our citizens with the skills and know-how needed to operate this equipment”.
“This facility and the supplier companies locating nearby are creating thousands of new jobs for our citizens,” Governor Perdue added. “The arrival of this final piece of the press equipment is a 135-ton statement that Georgia and Kia are permanent partners who have made the global journey together, and are working together to launch this new beginning for 21st century advanced manufacturing in our state.”
President Ahn also highlighted the solid performance of Kia Motors as a global automotive company. In the company’s latest release of September sales figures, Kia sold 110,431 vehicles, a 2.7% increase over the same period last year. For the first nine months of 2008, Kia’s global sales have increased by 14.4% over last year.
“Our global business is setting new records every day,” President Ahn said. “Our emphasis on quality and safety, and our focus on delivering what the market demands, is proving that our core mission can succeed even in challenging economic times.”
Randy Jackson, KMMG’s director of human resources, described the equipment and the journey it made across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal, around Florida and up the Savannah River. He emphasized the critical role that the local communities in and around Troup County have played in creating a welcoming environment in which Kia’s business is developing.
“This demonstrates how interlinked our global economy is,” Jackson said. “From Kia’s corporate headquarters in Korea, to the city halls and county courthouses here in our Georgia communities, nothing is possible without collaboration and understanding. With a shared vision, anything is possible.”
The piece of the “crown assembly” of the stamping press completed a journey of more than 15,000 miles that brought it — along with 3,500 tons of additional equipment — from Masan, Korea to the Port of Savannah, and then across Georgia’s highways and interstates to West Point.
Also attending the event held next to the stamping plant building at the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc., facility, were Commissioners Ken Stewart, Georgia Dept. of Economic Development, and Ron Jackson, Technical College System of Georgia.
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) is the first manufacturing site in North America for Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, Korea. KMMG is located on 2,200 acres in West Point, Georgia, and scheduled to begin production in the last quarter of 2009. At full capacity, the plant will have the ability to produce 300,000 vehicles annually and employ approximately 2,500 team members.
In addition, automotive suppliers who have located in the region as a result of Kia’s presence will provide more than 6,000 jobs. With Kia’s planned 2,500 jobs and $1 billion investment, the economic impact of the project on West Georgia and the state is continuing to grow.
Kia Motors — a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart — achieved its 14th year of consecutive record sales in the U.S. in 2007. Kia Motors today has more than 40,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of almost $17 billion. “The Power to Surprise”, Kia Motors’ tagline, represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) is the first manufacturing site in North America for Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, Korea. KMMG is located on 2,200 acres in West Point, Georgia, and is scheduled to begin production in the last quarter of 2009. At full capacity, the plant will have the ability to produce 300,000 vehicles annually and employ approximately 2,500 team members.