Kia Building First Mexican Plant To Alleviate Strained U.S. Production

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
kia building first mexican plant to alleviate strained u s production

In light of high demand in the United States for its offerings, Kia will build its first Mexican plant in Monterrey to help bring additional capacity to North America.

Reuters reports the factory will open 21 months after groundbreaking, supplying a total of 300,000 vehicles annually to the United States. Production will focus on Kia’s compacts — the Forte and Rio — at first before taking on work from the brand’s sole U.S. factory in Georgia, where the Optima, Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are assembled, and from Hyundai’s Alabama plant, where the Sonata and Elantra are built. No word was given on when the first shovels would break the earth.

Aside from supply-and-demand issues in the U.S., Kia is likely building the Monterrey plant — to go with Hyundai’s production expansion into Chongqing, China — in order to maintain its market share around the globe. The duo together hold fifth place in the global auto sales race, a position it could lose by 2016 if no more capacity is added, according to Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon.

The capacity limit was unofficially put in place by Hyundai/Kia chair Chung Mong-koo over two years ago, fearing his two brands would end up like Toyota in the 2000s if they expanded as aggressively as had the Japanese automaker.

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23 of 24 comments
  • Can someone please post a short list of very popular car models being produced in America?

    • See 11 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Jun 10, 2014

      @HDC - "...for some odd reason, cannot meet the safety standards of the Europe mainland, or the Lorry standard of England. I don’t know why that is, but have often wondered." I'm really surprised BAFO forgot to mention the 22% tariff Europe slaps on US made trucks. Otherwise, standards between the regions are similar enough.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jun 09, 2014

    They won't strain for the new K900. Saw one yesterday in the flesh at a concours show, and it looked rubbish. The interior was -ok- I suppose, but the 8 squares of headlights and tiger mouth at the front really throw it off.

    • See 2 previous
    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jun 09, 2014

      @28-Cars-Later The Omega flagship should do more than "fine" for Cadillac, as the CTS is doing in the midsize luxury segment.

  • Darex Darex on Jun 09, 2014

    I don't know if the article explains why I haven't been able to buy a Kia Forte5 SX with both packages and manual-transmission until MAYBE next month, for the first time since they were announced 15 months ago, and from when it SUPPOSEDLY went on-sale, 7 months ago. Too late for Kia, though. I have given up and just bought a MINI Cooper F56 instead. I don't honestly know what Kia's problem is/was, but my patience only goes so far. Haven't said that, The Forte is a great car, and nothing can touch it for content. I much preferred it to the Mazda3.

    • See 2 previous
    • Darex Darex on Jun 09, 2014

      @SC5door That's the thing: ALL (all 5!?) Forte5 SXs with manual and both packages went to the Western Region, and not one has yet shipped to the Eastern Region, and any that do now, will be 2015s. Not one 2014 ever made it east. Their allocation system is non-existent. Dealers cannot order one, and KIA USA has zero control over what's made. It is one messed-up system!

  • Darex Darex on Jun 09, 2014

    Some have suggested that Hyundai dealers demanded that Forte supply be limited because it was killing Elantra sales, until the 2014 Elantra's engine upgrade. It's as hood an explanation as any.

    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jun 09, 2014

      Forte supply is tight in all markets.