In the first quarter of 2012, Kia will introduce a third shift at its Zilina, Slovakia, plant. For this expansion, 1,000 new jobs will be created. Kia and affiliate Hyundai are aiming to aggressively increase European sales. Kia is planning that by next year, the successor to its Cee'd model, its best-selling vehicle in Europe, would be launched.
Kia produces the Cee'd, Sportage, Venga models in Zilina. In a statement, Paul Philpott, Kia Europe's chief operating officer, said that adding the third shift is just the latest move in Kia’s long-term goal to produce cars locally in order to best meet the requirements and preferences of its local customers.
He added the production at its Slovakia facility has to be given a major boost to satisfy the strong demand for its models, especially its new Sportage compact SUV.
Kia said that the 1 billion euro investment is also expected to create thousands of new jobs at parts suppliers in Slovakia.
Industry association ACEA said that Kia's sales rose by 4.2% to almost 180,000 in EU and EFTA countries in the first eight months, resulting to a 2% market share.
Kia reaffirms its place in the highly competitive car industry. From the time that Kia unwrapped the 2nd generation Kia Sportage, it has changed many people’s impressions about the Korean label. More and more people choose Kia over other competing brands. In 2004, thousands of Sportage units were sold which includes 150,000 in Western Europe and a total of 860,000 worldwide.
Gone are the days when Kia used to be a lame name for a car. Today, the 3rd generation Kia Sportage is the hippest, most family-friendly SUV to take around the city. Kia redesigned the latest model with new engine and bodyshell. The Sportage provides low CO2 emissions and more fuel efficiency. And because it’s lighter by 91kg, the enhanced aerodynamics delivers 0.37 Cd figure, a drop from the previous 0.40.
This Sport utility vehicle is lower by 90mm, wider by 60mm and longer by 15mm than last year’s model. The newest design made use of the same essential features found on any SUV. Thus, the Kia Sportage offers a high level of safety as well as conveys the same command on the road.
Hyoung-Keun Lee (Kia Motors Corporation President) said that the 5-seater SUV is more appealing to its consumers. They made sure that the new Sportage meets the everyday requirement for all-around city driving. He strongly believes that the 3rd generation SUV would fare well in spite of the economic downturn worldwide. He’s also positive that in five years time, the C-segment will be out to conquer the European market.
Meanwhile, the Chief Design Officer wants the SUV to be easily recognisable from the highly competitive SUV market. This is why the new Sportage now incorporates Kia’s latest design DNA. Still, Peter Schreyer and his team designed the 3rd generation with a touch of the Kia Kue Concept from 2007. The Kue concept car has its share of admirers from different parts of the world. This will surely bring a smile on their faces once the new Sportage will be out on sale.