Kia will add a second, different vehicle eight months after the December 2006 start-up of its assembly plant in Zilina, Slovakia, the automaker has told Automotive News Europe.

By July 2007, Kia plans to launch assembly of Sportage medium SUVs, Jean-Charles Lievens, Kia Europe's senior vice president, said in an interview at the Bologna motor show.

Lievens described in detail Kia's aggressive ramp up of the Zilina plant, currently under construction in the mountains of northwestern Slovakia. He said Kia plans to expand capacity to 300,000 units annually from the initial 200,000 by 2009.

Lievens said, by 2009 or 2010, Kia plans to sell 550,000 vehicles a year - 300,000 built in Zilina and 250,000 units imported from South Korea.

Kia has pressed ahead with construction even though the Slovakian government has not yet completed purchasing the land the plant sits on.

Lievens said the EUR1.1 bn plant will open on schedule the first week of December 2006. The first product will be a new five-door hatchback body style of a still-unnamed lower-medium car that will debut at the Paris motor show next September, he said. Within 12 months, Kia will add first a station wagon and then three-door body styles.