Kia Motors America is ramping up its U.S. production at the manufacturer’s West Point, Georgia, plant. The plant will increase output from the current 300,000 vehicles per year to 360,000 beginning this September.
In a public statement made June 2 President and CEO of Kia Motors America, Ahn Byung-mo, said, "Kia is experiencing unprecedented growth in the U.S., led by the best-selling Sorento. And with demand for the critically acclaimed Optima currently outpacing supply we are proud to add the popular sedan as the second Kia vehicle on the production line."
In anticipation of the increase, Kia has just hired 1,000 new U.S. worker. Byung-mo hopes this expansion will keep up with the high demand for Kia’s Optima sedan and Sorento SUV, best-sellers for the brand. Kia’s Georgia plant will begin producing both models exclusively.
Safety ratings and reviews from the auto press for several popular Kia models have elevated Kia Motors' U.S. sales for a third straight month. Kia's U.S. sales numbers were up a 53.4 percent in May.
Dealers are welcoming the news of increased domestic production since Kia’s popularity is on the rise.
"While other car manufacturers are still struggling with production issues in the wake of Japan's crippling natural disasters, Kia will not only remain unaffected, but will be able to get its most popular models out to the public even faster," says Northeast dealer Josh Aaronson of Yonkers Kia.
Keeping up with demand for the Optima and Sorento have been a challenge for Aaronson. While he says Yonkers Kia's inventory has been able to keep up so far, the production increase will be a welcome relief.