92771KIA

Kia Motors has completed its new manufacturing plant in Mexico, its first in Latin America – and the second in the Americas after its Georgia facility in the US. Located in Pesquería, Nuevo León and requiring an initial investment of around US$3 billion (RM12.9bil), the 500-hectare site was built in just 13 months, representing the fastest completion of any factory in the South Korean carmaker’s history.

“Thanks to the state-of-the-art technology and manufacturing processes being introduced to the plant, we expect our facility to be one of the most environmentally-friendly automotive manufacturing plants in the region,” said Kia Motors Mexico president Seong-Bae Kim.

“Once mass production commences, it will take less than one minute for a vehicle to come off the assembly line, making our facility among the most productive among all Kia plants globally.”

The company will conduct quality assurance testing and pilot production at the facility over the next six months, before it starts mass production of the Cerato sedan there in mid-2016.

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The Mexico plant is Kia’s 11th, joining other such facilities in Korea, China, Slovakia, Russia and the US. It includes technologies such as the company’s biggest stamping press anywhere in the world – an 18-metre behemoth weighing 3,862 tons, costing a massive US$75 million. Other features include an advanced monitoring system promoting continual improvement in energy saving and environmental conservation.

Elsewhere, there’s an integrated water treatment plant preventing soil contamination and harmful runoff from flowing into the nearby Pesquería River, as well as LED lighting – all in the name of reducing the facility’s impact to the environment. There are plans to introduce other green production technologies, too, such as solar energy.

Once up and running, the plant will boast an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles, representing 10% of Kia’s total production – 60% of the output will be destined for North America, while 20% will be sold to the Mexican market alone; the remaining 20% will be exported to other countries in Latin America. With the facility, Kia is expected to provide around 14,000 direct jobs and 56,000 indirect jobs.