Kia finally carried out a ground-breaking ceremony for its new plant in Georgia, US, on 20 October.

The automaker is investing $US1bn in a new facility in West Point, Troup County, to support its efforts to increase North American sales to 650,000 units by 2010. The plant will be the brand's first in the US.

Kia announced plans for the plant earlier this year but a ground-breaking ceremony was delayed after Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group chairman Chung Mong-Koo was imprisoned on charges of embezzlement. He was released on bail in June.

Chung attended the ceremony along with his son, Chung Euisun, president & CEO of Kia Motors and over 500 VIPs from Korea and the US.

Kia expects the US plant, which will begin production in 2009, to produce up to 300,000 vehicles a year and employ about 2,500 workers. Kia sold 25,114 vehicles in August in the US, 5.4% more than a year ago.