On August 27, 2014, KIA Motors announced its first Latin American plant in Pesqueria, Nuevo Leon, representing an investment of more than US$2 billion in the region, US$1 billion of which will be contributed directly by KIA, while the rest will be invested by its suppliers. According to Manuel de la Torre, General Counsel and Institutional Relations Director at KIA Motors México, Pesqueria was the best location for this investment, given its high-quality and certified labor, large number of automotive component suppliers, and a well-developed logistics and distribution infrastructure. “KIA’s investment in Nuevo Leon will have a huge impact on the social and economic development of the region, creating a total of 13,000 new jobs directly in the manufacturing plant and with its direct suppliers,” says de la Torre. “This investment will bring huge development to Pesqueria in terms of schools, housing, and all the necessary services to take this region to the next level.” In addition, KIA is expected to boost the entire business network in Nuevo Leon, generating approximately 40,000 indirect jobs.
The new facility has a current area of 179 hectares, with the potential to expand another 155 hectares. Furthermore, six of KIA’s direct suppliers are positioned right next to the plant, which will be the largest and cleanest plant in KIA’s global manufacturing network. The project started in October 2014 and it is expected to be concluded by October 2015, with production of the new KIA Forte officially scheduled for May 2016. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 units, 60% of which will be destined for the US. The other 40% will be divided between the Mexican market and other locations in Latin America. “This production will strengthen our presence in the US, where we registered a growth of 8.4% by the end of 2014,” says de la Torre. “In terms of technology, KIA’s new plant will have state-of-theart equipment, guaranteeing high-quality standards in our production. We are investing US$75 million in a new stamping press coming all the way from South Korea, and we will be using seven different stamping technologies patented by our company.” KIA’s assembly line will also be completely automated, with 300 robots focused on welding, sealing, painting, measuring, and component handling. Regarding sustainability, the company is increasing its use of ecologic materials, and has moved to a high-temperature combustion process to eliminate all toxic emissions to the environment.
KIA has to develop the proper infrastructure to transport its vehicles to the US, and is currently working on a logistics project with Kansas City Southern to lay the proper rail infrastructure. KIA also received help from the Ministry of Communication and Transportation, the government of Nuevo Leon, and the municipality of Pesqueria, to develop access roads to the northern and southern part of the plant.