Kia wants to increase the production capacity of its vehicle assembly plant in West Point, Ga., by 20%, from 300,000 units annually to 360,000. To achieve this goal by 2012, Kia will make a $100 million investment for this expansion.
At the same time, Kia is preparing to set up a third shift at the plant to build the Kia Optima mid-sized sedan starting this September. This plant also builds the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe crossovers -- which are built on the same platform as the Optima.
For the month of May, Kia’s sales in the U.S. increased by 53% to 48,212 units, its best month ever in terms of sales. Kia’s sales through May went up by 45% to 200,060 units. The added production capacity in this plant will help relieve some of the pressure on the plant, which was operating at almost full capacity for months to cope with its sales growth.
According to Kia sales from January to May, the Sorento is its top seller with 51,765 units sold, a 23% increase. Kia’s high rate of producing the Sorento and Santa Fe implies that the full-year production of just these vehicles will bring the plant to full capacity.
In a statement, Kia said that the expansion will be finished in 2012. For the third shift, Kia has hired 1,000 new workers. This means that the plant’s total employees now exceed 3,000.
In terms of exterior design, the new Kia Optima visually conveys a character that is not only dynamic and imposing, but is also elegant and passionate. Its distinct silhouette and sleek stance allows the new Kia Optima to create a unique image of its own, as helped by a front marked by the carmaker’s bold signature grille bordered by projector headlamps. This saloon features a coupe-like profile augmented by a sweeping chrome arc flowing from the A- to the C-pillars – a configuration that visually lowers the Optima while enhancing its proportions.
The Optima’s roofline is linked with its high shoulder line leading to its sculpted flanks and its long wheelbase. Its sleek yet muscular stance has been made possible by its flared wheel arches and a sloping rear window.
Customers will be delighted that the new Optima is offered with an appealing collection of standard exterior features like solar glass, dual exhausts and indicators on the wing mirrors. Kia will also be offering heated exterior mirrors, fog lights, exterior chrome (also in body color) door handles and 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 215/55 R17 tires -- depending on the trim level availed by customers.
For customers opting for higher trim levels, they will be pleased to find these features added on their Optima: HID headlights with auto leveling, distinct front grille design, LED rear lights, rear lip spoiler, aero wiper blades and sculpted side sills, as well as red brake calipers and 18-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in 225/45 R18 tires.
On the other hand, the interior of the new Kia Optima has been designed and is luxuriously equipped to ensure drivers that this vehicle is made for them. For instance, its instrument panel is contoured toward the driver for a cockpit feel and features a number of precise gauges and controls.
Drivers would surely welcome the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel -- featured standard on automatic versions outside North America – as well as a high console with a short shifter. For an open-air drive, customers may avail of an optional glass panoramic sunroof. All of these features ensure a convenient drive and ride that do not compromise interior spaciousness and comfort, which is further augmented by seats with a lean and ergonomic design.
Drivers would also enjoy a six-way adjustable seat with power lumbar support, a trip computer and illuminated vanity mirrors. In addition, the new Kia Optima has standard technological features to enhance the enjoyment that drivers and passengers experience inside its cabin.
These features include a high quality 'Dimension' audio system -- with AM/FM/CD and MP3 compatibility -- with eight speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, auxiliary and USB audio input jacks and steering wheel-mounted voice activation controls. Availability of these features depends on the market.