Kia Motors signs US$1 billion investment agreement for establishment of manufacturing plant in Mexico
The official investment agreement signing ceremony was held on August 27th (local time in Mexico) at the Technological Museum of the Electricity Federal Commission (MUTEC) in Mexico City, and was attended by a delegation of key executives from Kia Motors, led by Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee, Vice Chairman of Kia Motors Corp., and a host of Mexican government dignitaries including Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, and Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz, Governor of the State of Nuevo León.
Construction on the Kia Motors Mexico plant is scheduled to commence in late September of 2014, and when completed in the first half of 2016 it will boast an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles, thereby boosting Kia's total global manufacturing capacity to 3.37 million vehicles, including 1.69 million vehicles at domestic Korean plants and 1.68 million at overseas plants. Kia plans to produce a range of yet-to-be confirmed compact models at the new plant.
Representing an investment of approximately US$1 billion by Kia Motors, the new, highly automated manufacturing plant will be situated on a 500 hectare (53.8 million square foot) site that will also be home to numerous supplier companies' facilities.
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. 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.
For Korean automakers to competitively enter the Mexico market, the establishment of local production facilities is pivotal as Mexico imposes high tariffs on imported cars from Korea. Moreover, Mexico is well-known for its skilled, low-cost labor force and numerous free trade agreements (such as NAFTA) with about 40 countries.
Meanwhile, Kia expects the Mexico plant to play a major role in alleviating current global supply issues thanks to its strategic geographic location. Namely, its proximity to the USA will enable the company to better address the ongoing supply shortage situation that has arisen due to the dramatic growth of the Kia brand in the US market. Furthermore, Kia plans to utilize the plant as a foundation for strengthening the brand's sales presence throughout the entire Central and South America region while freeing up supply from Kia's domestic plants to address supply shortage issues in other regions of the world.
Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee, Vice Chairman of Kia Motors Corp., said, "All of us at Kia Motors are proud to signal in a new era for the brand with the announcement of our first manufacturing plant in Mexico. 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."