Hyundai Motor Group President Chung Mong-Koo declares the U.S. a key export destination as the automaker officially opens a Kia Motors plant in Pesqueria, Mexico.
Production at the Korean automaker’s sixth overseas production facility launched in May with the C-segment Kia Forte. Next year the plant will add the new high-volume B-segment Rio, which has its global premiere at next month’s Paris Auto Show.
Kia and its suppliers have invested some $3 billion in the complex. Hyundai spokesmen say the facility will have 14,000 employees by the end of 2017, when annual output reaches 300,000 units from the current 100,000 thanks to the addition of a second and third shift.
Maximum production is pegged at 400,000 vehicles a year, raising Kia’s overall global production capacity to 3.56 million.
The plant was built in Mexico to take advantage of tariff-free access to U.S. and Canadian markets under NAFTA. Spokesmen confirm 80% of production is earmarked for export to the U.S. and Latin America.
“The innovative design and world-class quality possessed by the cars produced at the Kia Motors Mexico plant will be embraced by our valued customers not only here in Mexico but also in export-bound countries of Latin America and North America,” Chung says at the ceremony.
Chung’s reference to North America primarily means the U.S., where the bulk of production is targeted. The Mexican plant will augment both the Kia plant in West Point, GA, and the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, AL.
Kia is providing $1 million per year in what it calls corporate social responsibility initiatives for the Pesqueria community.