The world of Kia Motors and its fleet of parts suppliers is getting even bigger, with Hyundai Dymos building a $35 million plant in West Point, Ga., eventually employing 350 people.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s office made the announcement Monday, hailing the impact Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia has made on the state’s automotive industry since its main assembly plant opened in West Point in November 2009.
“Kia’s presence here has been a magnet for automotive suppliers, and our ready-to-work, highly trained work force ensures that Georgia stays in the running for major automotive projects,” the governor said in a statement.
Hyundai Dymos, launched by South Korea-based Hyundai Motor Group in 1994, will construct its facility near the main Kia plan in West Point. It should be completed by July, with production cranking up by November 2014. Hiring should begin this coming January.
The new operation will manufacture seats for the Kia Sorento crossover utility vehicle, Deal’s office said. Hyundai Dymos also is known to make manual transmissions and axles.
“We chose West Point because of the proximity to our customer base, but also because of the extraordinary support and interest by the local communities,” said Jun Mo Yoon, representative director of Hyundai Dymos. “The City of West Point and Troup County worked very closely with us to resolve any start-up issues.”
West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson welcomed the company to his city, which has become ground zero for an auto-manufacturing hub anchored by the massive Kia Motors plant on 2,200 acres off Interstate 85. Aside from the roughly 3,000 employees at the main plant, parts suppliers have collectively generated about 11,000 more jobs in west Georgia and east Alabama.
“We look forward to having Hyundai Dymos as part of our success story,” Ferguson said.
Aside from the Sorento, the Kia mother plant also makes the Kia Optima sedan and the Hyundai Santa Fe sport utility. It is now capable of churning out up to 360,000 vehicles each year. It was last July that the plant marked the milestone of creating its 1 millionth vehicle since opening nearly five years ago.
In its latest release of numbers, Kia Motors America reported its “best ever” August sales, with 52,025 vehicles sold. It noted the Optima, with 15,199 being purchased that month, was the automaker’s top selling nameplate for the 21st consecutive month.
Kia’s U.S. operations has consistently beat year-over-year sales totals over the last five years as the automaker ramped up its production and advertising. It is slightly behind its 2012 pace, however, with just over 378,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. through August versus nearly 387,000 in the same eight-month period of 2012.
The Optima itself is ahead of last year’s pace with 112,409 sedans purchased thus far this year, about 12,000 better than a year ago. Sorento sales are off about 4,500 vehicles, however, with 73,531 bought so far.
Kia in August recalled about 9,700 of its Sorentos due to the possibility that a front axle could fail. Roughly 23,000 Hyundai Santa Fes had been recalled earlier in the U.S. and Canada for the same problem.