Kia Motors announces plans to build its first US manufacturing plant in West Point Georgia

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  • Korean automaker investing $1.2 billion
  • Plant will employ 2,500 workers
  • Kia targets 800,000 annual North American sales by 2010

(SEOUL) March 13, 2006 — Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) today announced plans to construct a $1.2 billion automotive assembly and manufacturing plant in West Point, Troup County, Georgia at a ceremony attended by KMC President and CEO Euisun Chung and Gov. Sonny Perdue in Seoul. The facility will be Kia’s first manufacturing plant in the U.S and will begin production in 2009.

The manufacturing facility is expected to produce 300,000 vehicles per year at maximum capacity and will be built on 2,200 acres. The plant will employ approximately 2,500 local workers, while 5-6 suppliers are expected to set up operations in Troup County and the surrounding areas, thereby resulting in the creation of an additional 2,000 jobs.

“Kia Motors has entered an aggressive growth phase in the U.S and the decision by KMC to build a manufacturing facility in West Point, Troup County, Georgia is the latest example of the company’s commitment to the marketplace,” said Euisun Chung, President and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation.

“Kia has made tremendous investments in design and engineering to better meet the needs and desires of American consumers, and this new plant will produce high quality, well-styled vehicles with the safety features and affordability that customers expect from Kia.”

Construction is currently underway on an $87 million U.S corporate campus in Irvine, Calif. that is expected to open in December 2006, and will include a 6,039 square-meter (65,000 square-foot) design center.

In total, Kia Motors has invested more than $300 million in the United States over the last four years, including a state-of-the-art research and development center in Ann Arbor, Mich.; a custom-built vehicle proving grounds in Mojave, Calif.; and the largest automotive design studio in California, which is shared with Hyundai Motor America.

Since coming to market in the United States, Kia has expanded to a full product line of vehicles and enjoyed 12 years of consecutive sales records, including 275,871 vehicles in 2005. Most recently, Kia Motors America (KMA) posted record sales for the month of February 2006, and is 3.2-percent ahead of its record setting 2005 sales pace.

Kia expects its North American sales (US and Canada) to climb by 15% to 350,000 units in 2006, and further grow to 800,000 units by 2010.