Ever since Isaac Singer figured that he could make more money making sewing machines for the European market in a factory near Glasgow rather than export them from his Elizabeth, New Jersey plant, manufacturing companies have built products where they’ve sold them.
Last Thursday a pearl white 2014 Sorento SXL trundled off an assembly line in West Point, Georgia. It was the millionth Kia that the Korean company has assembled in the United States, all accomplished in less than four years. Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) started building Sorento crossovers in late 2009, and added production of the mid-size Optima sedan after a $100 million expansion of the billion dollar West Point facility in 2012. Surprisingly, the landmark Sorento will not be headed to a Kia museum somewhere. It will be allocated to one of Kia’s 765 or so U.S. dealers for regular retail sale, so if you’re a Kia enthusiast who wants a piece of Kia history, you’ll have a chance to buy it. I’m not sure how you would locate the lucky dealer, though. Total capacity of the KMMG factory is now 360,000 vehicles, so as long as the company’s North American sales continue to be strong, they should produce the next million U.S. built Kia even faster than the first.