In 1974, Kia assembled its very first passenger car – the Brisa – at the Sohari production plant. As country’s very first fully-integrated automobile manufacturing plant, our facilities at Sohari came to be known as the birthplace of the Korean automobile industry. Starting from these humble beginnings, Kia now produces more than 3 million cars every year at 14 manufacturing operations in 5 countries. Pretty incredible, right?
Let’s learn more about Kia’s vast network of major factories around the world.
The Beginnings – Korea
The Sohari Plant in the 1970s
Sohari, Kia Motors’ first production plant, was completed in 1973. Our first passenger car, the Kia Brisa, was manufactured here, along with other historic vehicles such as the Bongo and the Pride. The Sohari plant continues to be a major production site for Kia, manufacturing about 320,000 units annually, including models like the Rio, Quoris (K900) and Grand Carnival.
Kia Brisa circa 1974
The home ground expansion continued as Kia established two more factories – the Hwaseong plant and the Gwangju plant, founded in 1989 and 1998, respectively. The Hwaseong plant is strategically located on the coast to boost exports. Numerous vehicles, such as the Cerato, Optima, Cadenza, and Niro, are assembled in Hwaseong, while a diverse lineup of Kia vehicles is manufactured at the Gwangju plant, including the iconic Soul, Carens and Sportage
First Foray Abroad – China
Kia Cerato in production at Yancheng
Kia expanded into China in 2002 and the established the second Yancheng plant in 2007. Covering 1,000,000 m2, the plant is one of the biggest Kia factories in the world and is now capable of producing 890,000 units consisting of 9 different models each year. In addition, the Yancheng plant has created more than 6,000 jobs for the local community, aiding in the sustained growth of the region.
Platform for Expansion in Europe
In 2006, we branched out to Slovakia in Europe to establish the Zilina manufacturing plant. The plant is responsible for production of stylish European exclusive models such as the cee’d family and the Venga. The Zilina plant has served as an outstanding platform for Kia’s rise in Europe and celebrated its 10th anniversary last December.
The American Dream
KMMG employees gather to celebrate the 2017 Super Bowl
This expansion in overseas production did not stop in Europe. In 2006, Kia opened Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) in the United States. The plant is capable of manufacturing about 340,000 units annually and employs more than 3,000 people, making huge contributions to the development of the economy and the auto industry in region. In December 2016, the Georgia plant was recognized as the Georgia Automotive Company of the Year and Georgia Automotive Leader of the Year by the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Our newest manufacturing plant opened its doors in Pesqueria, Mexico in September of 2016. Equipped with state-of-the-art eco-technology, Kia’s Mexico plant has already had a substantial positive impact on the country in more ways than one. Adhering to the highest environmental standards, the facility boasts an annual production capacity of 300,000 units while providing significant employment and easing the brand’s carbon footprint in the region. Take a 360-degree tour of the factory in the videos below!
Kia has come a long way since the first Brisa model rolled out of the Sohari plant. We started from humble beginnings, but today we compete as one of the biggest automobile companies in the world and we don’t intend to stop anytime soon. Let the journey continue!
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