WEST POINT, Ga. Sept. 24, 2008 — Returning with a wealth of new knowledge from both professional and cultural perspectives, the first group of hourly team members from Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) to travel to Korea for training are back after spending nearly a month at Kia Motors’ Off Line Test (OLT) plant in Ulsan.
“The training was an incredible experience,” said Keith Baker, a team member in KMMG’s welding group and a native of Richland, Ga. “It felt like we received two years worth of technical school training in one month. Our instructors did a terrific job of teaching us what we need to know.”
Overall, 14 members of the KMMG welding group were in Ulsan for some aspect of the training. The seven hourly team members in the group were there for the full four weeks of the training. The team members each built a door during the first week and helped to complete an entire vehicle body by the end of their stay.
The trip was an eye opening experience for all of the KMMG team members, but especially for Jeremiah Scott, a native of Columbus, Ga., who had never worked in automotive or flown on an airplane before.
“There was just an explosion of things to soak in,” said Scott. “I can’t wait to go back. The trip was absolutely worth it.”
Sessions during the visit included robotics training during the first week and moving line machine operation and build moving line assembly during the second week. Week three, training was on the fitting line and body build line machine operation. The team learned how to build the body in white during the fourth week. Additionally, Korean culture tours held in Kyeoungju, Ulsan and Busan provided extra insight for the team members on the weekends.
“The engineering team did an excellent job of making the training as easy as they possibly could,” said Stephen Lane, KMMG’s assistant manager of welding. “The technology was amazing.”
Randy Jackson, KMMG’s director of human resources and administration, was pleased about the results from the trip.
“At Kia we have a philosophy based on continuous improvement,” he said. “These trips to Korea for on-the-job training are a critical part of maintaining that philosophy.”
Jackson said he can see that a lot of learning took place during the trip and stated that everyone must continue to work together as one team as Kia moves forward.
“We are the fastest growing automotive company in the world and we are setting records every month and year,” Jackson told the returning team members. “You are with a winner. Now it is time to put on your ambassador hats and encourage others who will be going to Korea.”
Trips to Korea will be part of the standard training for new KMMG team members. Since Kia Motors’ first plant in North America located in West Point, Ga. is still under construction, training in Korea allows team members to learn the skills on the equipment they will be using before the plant is completed. Production assembly team members are scheduled to depart for Korea in October.
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. 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.