Kia Motors reaches major milestone, vehicle No. 1 million rolls off West Point assembly line

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 11, 2013 

Closing in on its fourth anniversary of production, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia said Thursday it has crafted a million vehicles.

The snow white pearl Sorento SXL crossover utility vehicle, a 2014 edition, was festooned with colorful flowers as it reached the end of the assembly line at the company’s plant in West Point, Ga., in Troup County north of Columbus.

Byung Mo Ahn, group president and chief executive officer of the Kia Motors operations in the United States, hailed the “tremendous achievement” and praised the automaker’s 3,000 workers in West Point.

The Kia factory began turning out Sorento vehicles on Nov. 16, 2009, and has quickly ramped up production. The previous milestone of 500,000 vehicles was reached in February of last year.

The $1 billion assembly plant was expanded in early 2012 at a price tag of $100 million, raising annual production capacity to 360,000 vehicles per year. The facility also makes the Optima sedan and the Hyundai Santa Fe sport utility.

Aside from its own 3,000 employees, the company said more than 8,000 auto-supplier jobs have been created in the region.

The South Korean automaker also operates a Hyundai factory in Montgomery, Ala., manufacturing that brand’s Sonata and Elantra passenger cars. That facility launched production in 2005.

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