Kia to Open Auto Factory; Create 2500 New Jobs; Invest $1.2B
22 Jul, 2009
Town hits economic jackpot to become 'Kia-ville' A community that seemed on the road to becoming a ghost town has taken a turn toward prosperity despite the recession, thanks to an automaker. Korean car manufacturer Kia plans to open a sprawling automobile factory in tiny West Point, Georgia, by the end of the year. The boon has already spurred economic growth -- and just plain excitement -- among residents, said Mayor Drew Ferguson. "We jokingly call it Kia-ville," said Ferguson, a 42-year-old dentist helping to oversee expansion of West Point, population 3,500. The announcement is drawing workers and businesses to the community about 80 miles south of Atlanta. "The revitalization of the community is touching every aspect," Ferguson said. "We have infrastructure projects, new subdivisions going up, hotel professional services that are all needed to support the massive manufacturing." The plant, which will make Kia's Sorento sport utility vehicle, has hired 500 workers. By the time the factory opens, Kia hopes to hire 2,000 more. A smattering of Kia supply companies will eventually employ 7,500 additional workers.