Over this past weekend, Kia opened a new manufacturing plant on 2,200+ acres in the rural community of West Point, Georgia. According to Kia's Web site, the plant will produce 300,000 cars annually, initially employ over 1,200 (with total direct employment expected to exceed 2,400 by the end of 2010), and support approximately 7,500 local suppliers.
This giant Kia plant will begin mass-producing Kia Sorentos later in 2010, according to company sources.
The plant was opened in an area of Georgia with unemployment that some sources placed as high as 20%. Debates have risen around the Web regarding unions and other potential challenges Kia might face as the business and culture around West Point evolves and grows. At this stage, these kinds of observations are pointless - here's to Kia for creating hope and opportunity for an area that desparately needs it, and here's to the community of West Point for the opportunity to prove US manufacturing has the chops to make Kia even more successful.
And if you're a supplier in the Southeastern US, there's gold in them there hills, y'all.