New plant in Mexico may first built Kia Forte

Article by Andrew Christian, on September 3, 2014

While Kia is still officially reviewing which nameplates would be produced at its new facility in Monterrey, Mexico, the Forte could be the first to be built at the new site, Reuters says. Kia is planning to build a range of compact models at site, which will be able to produce 300,000 vehicles annually. The Monterrey site is set to commence production in the first half of 2016.

A North American output would benefit the Forte, which has failed to perform as expected in the compact car segment. Despite a redesign in 2013, the Forte only grew 5 percent in the first seven months of 2014 to 43,517 units in the US, good for a 3.2 percent share of the compact-car segment, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

On the other hand, Kia’s overall sales surged 7 percent in the period. John Fee, general manager of Koons Kia at Woodbridge in Virginia, told Automotive News that the South Korean carmaker has informed him that the new plant will build the Forte.

If that happens, then Koons Kia could sell more Fortes. He disclosed that with current sales rate of around eight Fortes per month, the demand would support 25 more with sufficient inventory.

Fee disclosed that he sells Forte out just within 30 days following arrival, which means he needs to wait long until the next shipment arrives. "They just can't build them quick enough," he told Automotive News. Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific, capacity limits have impacted sales of the Forte across the US.

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