Georgia site wins Kia automotive plant
Memphis Business Journal - 3:19 PM CST Monday
Kia Motors Corp. will put its first American automotive assembly plant in Georgia, bringing about 5,500 jobs to the state.
Georgia beat out other Southeastern states, including Mississippi which had three sites vying for the plant, for the Korean automotive manufacturer with an incentive package worth about $258 million. The package includes $76 million in job tax credits over five years, about $61 million to buy and prepare the project site and about $20 million for a job training center at the plant.
The plant will be built in West Point, Ga., on the state's central western border with Alabama, about 310 miles southeast of Memphis.
Troup County and the city of West Point granted Kia $130 million in property tax abatements for 15 years. In total, Kia has been offered a $410 million package.
Kia considered sites throughout the Southeast before selecting West Point, Ga. In August 2005, media reports said the company was interested in sites that included a 1,600-acre site in Hardin County, Ky., the 1,200-acre PUL Alliance-Wellspring Project in Tupelo, Miss., the 1,400-acre Lowndes County-Golden Triangle Megasite near Columbus, Miss., and a site in Meridian, Miss., that would put the plant in close proximity to the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Ala., which opened in May 2005.
As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, the two Korean car makers share many of the same suppliers who already support the Hyundai factory.
Kia plans to start work on its $1.2 billion facility on 3,300 acres in West Point, later this year, with completion expected by 2009. The 2 million-square-foot facility will have about 2,900 employees assembling 300,000 cars a year. The average employee salary at the plant will be about $50,000 a year.
Five automotive suppliers are expected to open plants near West Point to supply the Kia facility, adding another 2,600 jobs.
"Georgia has a strong presence in the automotive industry and has long delivered the right resources and talent to help companies thrive," said Gov. Sonny Perdue, who laid the initial groundwork on the Kia project during an October 2003 visit to South Korea. "Kia's decision to locate its first U.S. assembly plant in Georgia is a testament to the tools, experience and know-how Georgia will deliver to one of the automotive industry's leading innovators."
Kia (Pink Sheets: KIMTF) makes nine models of cars and passenger vans, including the Sportage, Spectra, Amanti and Sedona. Kia Motors America is based in Irvine, Calif. Its parent company is Kia Motors Corp. of Seoul, South Korea, which produces 1.15 million vehicles a year. Kia sells its vehicles in more than 160 countries.
"The decision by KMC to build a manufacturing plant in the United States demonstrates their confidence in our ability to further grow sales in the North American market," said J.H. Lee, president and CEO of Kia Motors America. "The plant is an important development to support our sales goals over the next decade."
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