The first customer-ready Kia Ceed C-segment cars are now coming off the production line at the Korean automaker's new manufacturing facility in Zilina, Slovakia.

The first cars were welcomed off the line by the usual delegation of big-wigs - in this case Kia Motors Corporation president and CEO Euisun Chung, Zilina mayor Jan Slota and, unusually, JD Power & Associates' senior vice president inter-national operations John Humphrey.

From October 2005 to July 2006, more than 600 Kia Motors Slovakia employees completed intensive training in Korea to ensure the quality of the Ceed.

After the official launch, KMS employees and component suppliers took part in a ´quality pledge ceremony´ and promised to build the best quality vehicles in the world by following the KMS Quality Charter.

Representing an investment by Kia of EUR1bn, the facility at Zilina will establish new benchmarks for vehicle quality and productivity - manufacturing 100 cars per employee per year when fully operational. The plant is creating 10,000 jobs in the region and will have an ultimate capacity of 300,000 units annually, including 12,500 Ceed cars each month.
The Ceed will be offered with three petrol engines and two diesels - with power outputs from 90 to 143 ps, three equipment levels (LX, EX and TX), four interior concepts, five centre-stack styles, seven different trim fabrics and 12 exterior colours.

By the end of next year there will also be three body styles to choose from. Production of a ´sporty wagon´ will begin in August and the three-door ´sporty hatch´ starts rolling in December 2007.