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Kia signs US$1bn agreement to build new plant in Mexico

Kia Motors Corporation has announced the signing of an investment agreement with the government of Mexico to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Monterrey, located in the northeastern state of Nuevo León.
The official investment agreement was signed at the Technological Museum of the Electricity Federal Commission (MUTEC) in Mexico City, and was attended by a delegation of key executives from Kia Motors, led by vice chairman Hyoung-Keun Lee, and a host of Mexican government dignitaries including Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, and Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz, governor of the state of Nuevo León.
Construction of the Kia Motors Mexico plant is scheduled to commence in late September and, when completed in the first half of 2016, the facility will boast an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles. The plant will boost Kia's total global manufacturing capacity to 3.37 million vehicles, including 1.69 million vehicles at domestic Korean plants and 1.68 million at overseas plants. Kia plans to produce a range of yet-to-be confirmed compact models at the new plant.
Representing an investment of approximately US$1bn by Kia Motors, the new, highly automated manufacturing plant will be situated on a 500-hectare site that will also be home to numerous supplier companies' facilities.
As one of the world's fastest growing automakers in recent years, Kia has been evaluating various options for entering new overseas markets to secure future growth for the brand. With its strong growth forecasts for new vehicle demand, Mexico was chosen as the site for Kia's next overseas plant, given that it is one of the few remaining major markets of the world in which Kia does not have a sales presence.
For Korean automakers to competitively enter the Mexico market, the establishment of local production facilities is pivotal, as Mexico imposes high tariffs on imported cars from Korea. Mexico is well known for its skilled labor force and numerous free trade agreements (such as NAFTA) with about 40 countries.
Kia expects the Mexico plant to play a major role in alleviating current global supply issues thanks to its strategic geographic location. Its proximity to the USA will enable the company to better address the ongoing supply shortage situation that has arisen due to the dramatic growth of the Kia brand in the US market. Kia also plans to utilize the plant as a foundation for strengthening the brand's sales presence throughout the entire Central and South America region while freeing up supply from Kia's domestic plants to address supply shortage issues in other regions of the world.
"All of us at Kia Motors are proud to signal in a new era for the brand with the announcement of our first manufacturing plant in Mexico,” says Hyoung-Keun Lee. “We are committed to producing world-class quality vehicles here in Mexico that feature industry leading styling and high-tech convenience and safety features that customers have come to expect from Kia, while making significant contributions to both the economic growth of the state of Nuevo León and the future development of the Mexican automotive industry."

2 September 2014


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