To keep up with rising demand for Kia models in Europe, the South Korean has decided to introduce a third shift at its Zilina plant in Slovakia and hire another 1,000 new employees. The company expects the recruitment process to be completed by December and have the three-shifts operational in the first quarter of 2012.
“The creation of the third shift at Zilina is the latest step in Kia’s long-term process of building cars locally to best meet local consumers’ needs and tastes,” commented Paul Philpott, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe. “Strong demand for all our models and especially our new Sportage compact SUV, made here in Europe, means we need to significantly increase production at our Slovakia facility.”
The Zilina factory produces the Sportage SUV, the Venga compact MPV and all versions (3-door, 5-door and estate) of the C-segment Cee’d. Kia has invested more than €1 billion ($1.35 billion USD) in its European production facility in Slovakia, which is flexible enough to produce completely different models and adapt to demand.
Yet with sales increasing 18.7% in Europe, 24.4% in China and 36.9% in the USA, Kia was compelled to add a third shift at Zilina, creating more jobs not only in its own plant but also to local suppliers.
The Korean carmaker will also add a third shift at its West Point plant in Georgia, which produces the Sorento SUV and the Optima saloon, and increase its workforce to 3,000 employees.
In 2010, 34.2% of Kia’s total production of 2.1 million units, which accounts for 729,000 cars, were manufactured outside of South Korea.
Due to the increased demand and the expanding operations in the Slovak Republic and the US means that this number is about to increase substantially.
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