The fire-afflicted assembly plant of Kia located in West Point, Ga., has resumed limited production. A fire during the weekend had forced Kia to stop production at this plant on Monday and Tuesday. The models produced at this plant include the Kia Sorento crossover, Kia Optima sedan and the Hyundai Santa Fe crossover.
Spokeswoman Corrine Hodges said that Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia assembled vehicles for one shift last Wednesday while two shifts are scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Hodges said that next week’s schedule has yet to be finalized. The demand for Kia’s Optima and Sorento has been strong.
The nearby plant that was damaged belonged to Daehan Solution, which is based in South Korea. It makes parts that minimize noise, vibration and harshness, like headliners and engine covers. This company supplies to Kia and Hyundai. Daehan Solution operates a dedicated plant in Alabama that makes parts for Hyundai’s assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala.
It’s uncertain when Daehan’s output will resume. From the start of this year through February, Kia sold 20,372 Optimas – about 135% higher than for the same period in 2011.
For this same period, Sorento sales totaled 15,708 units, falling 6% from last year. Kia’s sales in the U.S. totaled 80,555 vehicles in the first two months of 2012, about 33% higher than the same period last year. The interruption in this Kia plant’s production is expected to have little impact on the flow of vehicles to U.S. dealers.