Vehicle production at Kia Motors' Zilina, Slovakia plant last year increased by 10% over 2010, hitting a record 252,000 units. Engine production at the factory in 2011 also increased 12% in a year-on-year basis, with at least 359,000 diesel and petrol engines manufactured. With its second engine shop opening last year, maximum engine production at Zilina has risen to 450,000 units annually.
In order to satisfy the increasing demand and the transferred production of Venga, Kia now employs at least 3,900 people at Zilina. The automaker intends to boost output in Slovakia even more, targeting a production of 285,000 vehicles this year.
Eek-Hee Lee, President and CEO of Kia Motors Slovakia, related that 2011 was "very positive" for Kia in Europe because they achieved the record figures for engine and vehicle production. He further stated that their focus for this year is on setting a regular three-shift operation in order to hit full plant capacity in the first quarter.
Later on, they will prepare for volume production of the all-new Kia Cee'd, he added. The Cee'd is set for launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The Kia Cee'd family comprised 41% of production at Zilina last year, with the Sportage compact SUV following on its tail with 40%.
Kia Motors Slovakia exports automobiles to the whole of Europe. Russia is among its main export markets, with 23% of total production output delivered to the country. Other main export markets were as follows: 9% to Germany, 10% to Great Britain, 5% to France and 8% to Spain.
The new cee'd is lower and longer than the previous model, which helps make the hatchback more athletic in looks. Compared to its predecessor, the new cee'd is 50 millimeter longer and 10 mm shorter. It now measures 4,310 mm long and 1,470 mm tall. It still makes use of the 2,650 mm wheelbase that the previous cee'd uses.
A wider track enhances its sportier look. The bodyshell might be narrower by 10 mm, but the rear and front tracks have been widened by 32 mm and 17 mm respectively. This is made even more obvious by the 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels that provide very small gaps between and bodywork and the tires.
Moreover, its sleek silhouette is the result of extensive tests using the wind tunnel of the carmaker's research and development centre in Korea. The aerodynamic features such as the smooth covers below the engine bay, the central floor, the lower windscreen angle, the profiled rear light cluster, and the rear spoiler give the cee'd its low 0.30 drag coefficient, while making it more fuel efficient while also making the cabin very silent.
The new Kia cee'd will be made at the carmaker's Slovakian facility and will offer a choice of ten colors. It will also be the first Kia cars to have the new Kia badge on its hood. The new badge is sleeker and simpler, with a more modern look that has a premium attitude.
Six-speed transmission and powerful engines
Kia's engineers wanted the new cee'd to use less fuel and emissions without affecting the power output or engine response. This was achieved by the use of updated engines as well as several small modifications that helps the cee'd consume an average of 4% less fuel compared to its predecessor.