KIA has claimed to have set a number of production records at its new factory in Slovakia since the first CEED five-door hatchbacks rolled off the Zilina assembly line last December.

Over 24,000 cars have been made so far this year.

The automaker’s original goal, to ramp-up monthly output from 5,000 during the first quarter of 2007, to 10,000 units per month in May with the introduction of a second shift, has already been passed.

The first shift has been operating so efficiently – building a record 617 cee’d cars during a single day in March – that the second shift has now been introduced, 45 days ahead of schedule.

As the second shift builds up to the target of 60 cars per hour, Kia is planning to manufacture 12,000 cars in March – 2,000 ahead of plan – and 14,000 in May.

“Production at Zilina is progressing really well and vehicle quality is being maintained at the very highest standards,” claimed Jean-Charles Lievens, senior vice president Kia Motors Europe.

Kia spent EUR1bn on the Zilina facility and wants to manufacture 100 cars per employee per year when the plant is fully operational.
The plant is said to be creating 10,000 jobs in the region and will have an ultimate capacity of 300,000 units annually.

Cars built there have a seven-year/150,000km warranty in all EU states plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Gibraltar.

Production of a five-door wagon version begins in August and the three-door hatchback in December 2007.