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Equipment for Kia’s $1,2billion assembly plant arrives to USA

Last week, a special ship from South Korea, carrying 3,500 tons of automobile-making equipment, approached the Savannah port. The equipment, loaded on the ship, was destined for Kia’s $1,2 billion manufacturing plant, which is under construction in West Point Georgia, USA.

Over the next few weeks, all of the equipment will be transported from Savannah to Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Inc.’s facility, located 300 miles away from the port. Some of the equipment will be transported on a fleet of trucks that includes a dual-lane trailers, while other, larger pieces, weighing up to 125 tons will be trucked by a specialized 19-axle transporters, designed to carry the largest cargo pieces.


After traveling 300 ground miles to reach the manufacturing facility, the equipment will be assembled into two massive presses that will make panels for the next generation Sorento CUV, which production is scheduled to start in the last quarter of 2009.

The first press, called “blanking press” will be used to mold the steel into “blanks” with the pressure of 600 tons, while the second one, the “transfer press”, will be used to stamp the steel with a force of 5,000 tons, molding it into different panel types to create the hood, doors and fenders.

The arrival of these presses to the state of Georgia marks another huge step for Kia as it gets closer to going into production in West Point. Kia’s first US plant is scheduled to begin production in the last quarter of 2009. When operating at full capacity, the plant will have the ability to produce 300,000 vehicles each year and employ approximately 2,500 people. [Source: Globalatlanta via Kia Forums]

4 thoughts on “Equipment for Kia’s $1,2billion assembly plant arrives to USA

  1. Should one assume that this is also the plant that might be building the Soul for the U.S. market. Say on assembly line 2…….Or will they come strait from Korea….

  2. According to Kia, there will be three models built in the plant. First, already announced, will be the Sorento, while other two were not mentioned. With large investment to fullly rebuild and retool one of the Korean factorys, the Soul will most probably come only from Korea. But Kia could save about 500-1000$ on each Soul built in USA, because there would be no shipping costs.
    How about Optima? Hyundai is building Sonata and Santa Fe at it’s US plant. they both share the same platform.
    Since Optima and Sorento will have the same platform too, both could be made in US.
    The third model could be a smaller vehicle, Forte or next gen. Rio.

  3. I personally think that the next gen Rio and the next gen Optima or maybe next gen Amanti will be built there. I just heard a rumor that Kia is looking for a place to put another factory to “stimulate the US economy, and in a time of national crisis, keep our costs the same”.

  4. It doesn’t make sense to build compacts in the US because it cost more to build cars here than in Korea(labor costs). The only logical options would be the next gen Optima and the Amanti replacement as they all share parts in some form. Whether that be the platform or engine. Keep the smaller models overseas so they can continue to undercut the competition in price.

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