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EARLY TEST PRODUCTION IN ZILINA HERALDS KIA’S NEXT STEP

With construction of Kia’s new European assembly facility complete and early test production under way the growing car marque is ready to take the next step in its biggest export market.

Speaking at the factory in Zilina, Slovakia, Kia Motors Europe Senior Vice President Jean-Charles Lievens heralded the company’s move towards being the most Korean of European manufacturers from its current position as the most European of Korean manufacturers.

The new plant, a Euro 1 billion investment, will commence production of Kia’s first all-European car before the end of this year. Designed and developed in Europe at the company’s Russelsheim, Germany, R&D Centre the new C-segment competitor code-named ED will be unveiled at the Paris Auto salon in September and will hit showrooms in December. The Zilina plant will also build the compact SUV Sportage model from mid-2007.

Lievens said: “Zilina represents the start of a whole new era in our history and will see Kia change from being a rapidly growing importer to a high-volume established brand marketing vehicles from a variety of sources. It also marks the start of a long-term process of changing perceptions of our brand. I would like Kia to be seen as the most Korean of European brands and as an active and responsible European Citizen with the creation of more than 10,000 jobs in Eastern Europe when the factory and its supplier development is complete.”

He also said that the Zilina plant would be one of the most productive in Europe with the 3,000 employees producing 300,000 cars at full production – a rate of 100 cars per employee per year. That rate is currently beyond the capability of most European production facilities – whether they are owned by European or Japanese brands.

Lievens also commented that ED would form the core of Kia’s future growth in Europe.

“We are certain that within 12 months of going on sale ED will claim a 3.5 per cent share of the Western Europe C-segment,” he said. “This will power our growth from the current level of 300,000 units in Europe last year – Kia’s best export region performance and even better than North America.

“We are confident because after the five-door hatchback model, that will be the first product to come from Zilina, we will have an estate or station wagon by September 2007 and a three-door hatchback before the end of the year.

“These products will give us a new diversity of appeal – three body styles, three diesel and three petrol engines, two manual and one automatic transmissions and three interior design ‘themes’ with a choice of five colour-ways and at least 12 exterior colours on both left and right hand drive versions,” he commented.

He also said that Kia was taking its environmental responsibilities at the factory very seriously with the latest technologies being employed to reduce emissions, waste water and materials waste. The factory, for example will use a fully automated paint process and water-based paints and instead of it requiring its own heat source it will use steam from the existing heat energy plant in Zilina city itself so allowing that plant to operate more efficiently and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and energy consumption.
 

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The chinese and koreans are coming!:errx2:

i can see GM and Ford going bang within 10 yrs because they sales are being taken away. i think everyone bar premium brands will really suffer as the koreans grow stronger.
 

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Yeah I agree. Ford have a contingency to a certain extent by owning Premium Brands. GM don't to a certain extent.

Ford will be making a massive leap forward when they launch the Iosis.
 

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everyone is trying to move upmarket to avoid competing with kia, hyundai, proton etc.....

just look at a 10-15 year old hyundai and compare it to an equivelent ford/vauxhall. now compare the modern day cars and you can see the vast improvements made in just a decade
 

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It's all to do with high levels of investment in R&D, plant and machinary. Doesn't matter if it's made in Korea, Slovakia, Switzerland or Timbuktu, the product comes out cheap and does what it says on the tin.

I wonder how much further Slovakia can go though - a country about the size and population of Wales with so much production, that is fast catching the West up in wages etc. Maybe pug will get their fingers burnt...
 
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