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One of the final, and largest, pieces of Kia Motors Manufacturing Inc.’s (KMMG) second 5,400-ton transfer stamping press arrived at the facility yesterday. The press will be used to stamp and shape millions of vehicle panels at the $1 billion facility and is a key element of the plant’s ongoing production expansion.
“The arrival of our second stamping press is another major milestone for our plant in West Point, Georgia,” said Group President and CEO of Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Byung Mo Ahn. “KMMG will be hiring new team members to support the increased production, and the arrival of the new press is the latest example of Kia Motors’ commitment to continued growth in the U.S. market by further utilizing one of the most advanced automotive manufacturing facility in the world.”
President Ahn expressed appreciation for the cooperation of numerous state agencies including the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which has been the lead on the project from the beginning and is critical in all aspects of the site’s development; the Georgia Ports Authority, who made the arrival and discharge of such a massive cargo possible; the Georgia Department of Transportation, which escorted the numerous shipments of cargo from Savannah; and Georgia Quick Start, Kia’s workforce development and training partner.
“The arrival of this new equipment is a fine example of Georgia’s commitment to supporting existing industry for growth,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “Georgia is a place where a global company like Kia can get the resources it needs to grow. From providing Quick Start’s workforce training to strengthening its ports and highways, Georgia gets it done.”
President Ahn discussed the record-setting performance of Kia Motors in the United States and worldwide. In 2010, Kia had the company’s best-ever full-year sales with 356,268 units sold in the U.S. and increased market share for the 16th consecutive year to an all-time high of 3.1 percent. Just last month, Kia set the company’s all time single month sales record, topping March last year by more than 40%.
“The Kia brand is experiencing unprecedented momentum and growth, and recently recorded the company’s best-ever monthly and quarterly sales totals,” said President Ahn. “Our emphasis on quality and safety while producing vehicles that meet the changing needs of today’s consumers is proving to be a winning formula.”
Randy Jackson, KMMG’s director of human resources, noted that the equipment has made quite a journey across the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal, around Florida and up the Savannah River. He thanked the local communities in and around Troup County for their cooperation and for the welcoming environment they have created for Kia.
The journey for the “crown assembly” along with 3,500 tons of additional stamping equipment was more than 15,000 miles from Masan, Korea to the Port of Savannah and then across Georgia’s highways and interstates to West Point.
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 began mass production of the 2011 Kia Sorento on Nov. 16, 2009. At full capacity, the plant will have the ability to build 300,000 vehicles annually from U.S. and globally-sourced parts.
Governor Deal: Georgia infrastructure fuels more Kia jobs
Kia Motors' West Point manufacturing plant received the equipment necessary for its expansion yesterday. The equipment, which arrived in the Port of Savannah from Pyeongtaek, Korea, last week, was transported 300 miles to Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. Some pieces of the machinery weigh up to 170 tons and required special arrangements for their transportation across the state. A fleet of trucks and trailers were used for the largest pieces. The equipment will now be assembled by its manufacturer and will stamp steel into 17 different types of vehicle body panels, including hoods, doors and fenders.
“We congratulate Kia on its expansion, and welcome the 1,000 jobs Kia expects to create as it continues down the road to record success in the United States,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “The efficient, multiload delivery of massive equipment for Kia’s new production line via Georgia’s transportation network symbolizes the critical role our logistics system plays in creating jobs in Georgia and the importance of investing in our infrastructure. We welcome Kia’s growing presence in our state and are proud to contribute to the company’s success.”