Kia Motors has marked the tenth anniversary of production in Europe, with more than 2.5m vehicles and 3.8m engines coming off production lines at the automaker’s Slovakia plant in Žilina.
The company has invested more than EUR1.7bn (US$1.8bn) since its arrival in Slovakia, generating 20,000 jobs directly at the plant and among 40 of the facility’s most significant Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. Operating three production shifts each day, Kia employs around 3,800 people.
Kia currently manufactures the cee’d model family, Sportage and Venga at the facility, and exports to 95 countries worldwide. Some 14% of models produced in Žilina are right-hand drive cars, while almost 40,000 Kia cars produced in Kia’s only European plant, are present on Slovak roads.
“In the past decade, our company has become one of the biggest employers, producers, exporters and taxpayers in Slovakia,” said Kia Motors Slovakia president and CEO, Eek-Hee Lee.
Initial investment for building the plant represented EUR700m. In 2016, Kia invested EUR60m in Žilina, with plans to plough a further EUR130m in 2017..
Every day, two trains and 90 transporters are dispatched, sending 1,400 cars to 95 countries globally. Since 2006, Kia has exported most of its vehicles to Russia (18%), the UK (12%), Germany (9%), Spain (6%), and Italy (6%).
Žilina has also produced a series of fleet orders for the Slovak and Polish Police Forces, Czech Post, Slovak representatives of an international car rental company, as well as both the biggest pharmaceutical manufacturer and mobile service provider in Poland.
The plant is home to two engine production shops. The facility’s 1.6-litre diesel engine is the single most popular engine produced in Slovakia, accounting for 20% of the total engine production to date, though the majority of the 3.8m units produced are gasoline engines (53%).
Almost half of the engines produced by Kia are exported to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech in Nošovice in the Czech Republic.