Opelika, Ala. (September 3, 2009) – Although the first car has yet to roll off the assembly line of Kia Motors’ West Point, Ga., plant, the economic impact in the region and progress toward its projected mid-November launch date is moving at full throttle.
That was part of the message that Kia Motors’ human resource director and administrator J. Randy Jackson shared with a laundry list of state and local officials from the East Alabama and West Georgia communities that turned out for the Opelika Chamber of Commerce’s Business Over Breakfast event at the Saugahatchee Country Club Thursday morning.
“We’re the fastest growing auto company in the world and that’s something I’m proud of, Jackson said.
When Kia’s West Point, Ga. plant begins production in mid-November, they will be manufacturing 2011 model vehicles among which will be the popular Sorento CUV according to Jackson.
At full production, Kia Motors West Point, Ga. plant hopes to produce 300,000 vehicles a year, according to Kia Motors public relations specialist Patrick Sands.
“After January 2010, we’ll begin shipping vehicles by rail and truck to dealership locations in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, Jackson said.
Last month, Kia Motors reported a 60.4 percent increase in its vehicle sales, said Jackson, adding that they are some of the best sales numbers the company has seen in its history.
Jackson said the opening of Kia’s West Point auto assembly is “on schedule and when complete will sit on a 2,200-acre site – only about 650 acres of which is where the main pad will be located.
“Typically you don’t see an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) site larger than about 1,100 acres but there’s a reason we’re located on such a large site, Jackson said. “We hope to expand and we hope to do so quickly.
When Kia Motors began accepting applications for positions at its West Point plant, more than 43,000 applied from January to February 2008, said Sands.
Currently 1,138 persons have been hired to staff Kia Motors’ West Point, Ga. plant with about 100 salaried position openings remaining, said Jackson who hopes to hire more workers in the future.
After the talk, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said he was “impressed with the information Jackson shared.
“Kia has and will continue to have a significant, positive economic impact on the Opelika and East Alabama communities, said Fuller, who hopes the West Point, Ga. plant will be an employment option for workers who will be affected by the closing of BFGoodrich’s Opelika plant.
While the economy may be uncertain, Jackson is sure of one thing when it comes to Kia Motors’ West Point, Ga. plant.
“We’re not going anywhere”, said Jackson. “We’re here to stay.”
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.