- Official Grand Opening Ceremony for Kia’s first-ever plant in Europe
- Chairman Mong-Koo Chung declares plant will record profit in first year
- 1,500 VIPs and guests tour the state-of-the-art Zilina factory
(SEOUL) April 25, 2007 - To officially mark the creation of its first-ever assembly plant in Europe, Kia Motors Corporation hosted a ‘Grand Opening Ceremony’ yesterday (Tuesday) at its Zilina facility in Slovakia. Before an invited audience of 1,500 VIPs and guests, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group Chairman and CEO Mong-Koo Chung, together with Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico and Mayor of Zilina Ivan Harman, held a tape-cutting ceremony and declared the plant officially ‘open’.
Although the Zilina facility has been manufacturing Kia cee’d cars since December 2006, Kia Motors Corporation and the Slovakian Government agreed that the construction of this all-new facility, which has created more than 10,000 new jobs in the region, is so immensely significant that it should be formally celebrated.
“While maintaining the highest vehicle quality, Zilina has already achieved record-breaking productivity after just five months of operation,” commented Chairman Chung. “I know that all our staff here - Slovakians, Europeans and Koreans - are dedicated to making Kia’s manufacturing plant one of the very best in Europe. Thanks to innovative management, a skilled and dedicated workforce and high levels of productivity, I am confident we will record profit in the first year.
“Today is truly a landmark in Kia’s evolving history. With the support of the Slovakian government and people, we have established a remarkable manufacturing facility. Zilina is the ultimate showcase for the new technology and automotive know-how that Kia has accumulated over the years. We are proud of what we have achieved and of the highest build-quality for the cee’d vehicles, tailored to European consumers’ tastes and needs,” concluded Chairman Chung.
The Grand Opening was scheduled to also celebrate the third anniversary of the ground-breaking event which began the transformation of Kia’s 166 hectare Zilina site into one of Europe’s most advanced and productive plants.
Speaking at the Zilina ceremony, Prime Minister Robert Fico commented: “I would like to congratulate Kia on the completion of its Slovakia plant, as well as the successful launching of the new cee’d. The government and the people of Slovakia will continue to provide full support to Kia’s activities and growth in Europe and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”
Setting a Series of Production Records
Since the first cee’d five-door hatchback cars for European customers rolled off the Zilina assembly line last December, manufacturing at Zilina has been setting a series of production records, with more than 35,000 cars made so far this year. Currently, Kia’s cumulative order book for the cee’d hatchback stands at nearly 60,000 units.
Representing an investment by Kia of €1 billion, the facility at Zilina is establishing new benchmarks for vehicle quality and productivity - aiming to manufacture 100 cars per employee per year when fully operational. Zilina will have an ultimate capacity of more than 300,000 units annually. And it will set new standards for environmental protection.
Thanks to some of the world’s most advanced manufacturing techniques, the Zilina plant is ensuring that cee’d is a durable high-quality product and Kia is demonstrating its confidence by giving every cee’d (in all EU states plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Gibraltar) a revolutionary 7-year / 150,000 kilometre warranty - the ‘best’ new vehicle warranty ever offered by any car manufacturer in Europe.
By the end of the year there will be three cee’d body styles for customers to choose from. Production of the cee’d five-door ‘Sporty Wagon’ will begin in August and manufacture of the cee’d three-door will start in December 2007.
The occasion of the Grand Opening Ceremony was also used as the platform to announce the further expansion of Kia’s support for top-class football as a UEFA Eurotop sponsor (see separate press release).
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kiamotors.com or www.kia.com) -- one of the fastest growing automakers in the world -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. Kia’s 12 manufacturing and assembly operations in 8 countries produce more than 1.3 million vehicles a year that are sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 165 countries. Kia today has over 33,000 employees and annual revenues of almost $19 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. From 2007 to 2014, Kia will be an official automotive partner of FIFA -- the governing body of the FIFA World Cup. Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan -- “The Power to Surprise” -- represents the company’s-global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous-automotive innovation.