Korean carmaker Kia has today confirmed plans for a new assembly plant in Mexico, committing to an investment of more than US$1 billion.
Kia’s Australian arm has long struggled with strained supply in meeting local demand, although models like Cerato and Sorento have recently benefited from a freeing-up of production capacity.
The company says that its new Mexico plant will have the capacity to build around 300,000 cars a year, in a nation that is expected to turn out more than 3 million cars in 2014.
For Kia, the new plant will boost its total global annual capacity to 3.37 million cars, with 1.69 million coming out of domestic Korean plants.
Construction is set to begin in September, with completion expected in the first half of 2016.
“As one of the world’s fastest growing automakers in recent years, Kia Motors Corporation has been evaluating various options for entering new overseas markets to secure future growth for the brand,” the company said in a statement today.
“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.”
A manufacturing presence in Mexico will be key for entering that market, with the country imposing high tariffs on cars imported from Korea.
Kia has yet to confirm which models will be built in Mexico, revealing only that it plans a range of compact models.
“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,” Kia Vice-Chairman Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee said.
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