Kia’s has opened its first-ever U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, capable of producing 300,000 cars annually for the North American and global markets. Representing a US$1 billion investment by Kia, the 2.2 million-square-foot plant sits on more than 2,200 acres of land.

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia consists of four main shops: stamping, welding, paint and assembly. The site also includes a transmission shop, module shop and a two-mile test track. The general assembly area is outfitted with more than a half mile of height-adjustable conveyors to achieve the most favourable installation position for each team member and reduce physical fatigue. Uniquely, it is outfitted with wood flooring, which provides a more comfortable and forgiving work environment, says Kia.

As an all-new plant, KMMG uses the latest tech available. Stamping press delivers 5,400 tons of pressure and an automatic panel loading system; the fully automated welding shop boasts 242 welding robots; the paint shop uses eco-friendly, water-soluble coatings; and various systems are in place to keep inventory to a minimum via timely parts delivery. KMMG also features a internal railway system to facilitate transportation.

Mass production of the new Kia Sorento began on Nov 16, 2009 with the product officially going on sale in the U.S. in January this year. With 7,398 units sold, the Sorento was Kia’s best-selling vehicle in that month. Despite the global recession, Kia’s car sales in the USA grew by 9.8% to 300,063 units in 2009, and the Korean firm aims to increase sales by 15.6% to 347,000 vehicles in 2010.