Kia Adding Third Shift in Georgia to Keep Up with Sorento Demand

Fresh off a fantastic 2010 sales year, in which Kia saw demand for its products increase 19 percent from a year ago, the carmaker is considering adding a third shift at its plant in West Point, Georgia.

According to Automotive News, Tom Loveless, Kia’s US sales chief, said Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia is recruiting workers to staff a third shift at the plant. He also stated that no date has been fixed for the start of production.

Last year, the company managed to increase its share of the US market from 2.9 percent to 3.1 percent. This is mostly due to the new Sorento crossover, demand for which quadrupled to nearly 109,000 in 2010. Kia believes that stronger Sorento sales are inevitable going forward, given the fact that the auto market is recovering. Add the fact that dealers have reportedly been stating a shortage of Sorentos for months now, and increasing production becomes a given.

They have also been running short of other vehicles, such as the Sportage crossover and the redesigned Optima midsize sedan. Mark Scarpelli, owner of Raymond Kia dealership in Antioch, Illinois, said Loveless told dealers attending a meeting that the production increase would depend on market demand.

“Dealers are clamoring for the product, so within the next couple of months, they anticipate having that ramped up and have more production for that vehicle,” Scarpelli said.

For the past 12 months, the Sorento has been the brand's sales leader. Georgia production is shared with partner company Hyundai’s Santa Fe. Right now, the facility has an annual capacity of 300,000 units, so perhaps this is the beginning of a another big year for the CUV.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Mihnea Radu
Mihnea Radu profile photo

Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories