We’ve talked extensively about several different Kia cars and where they are made precisely on this blog. However, there’s so much more that goes into the operation of Kia when we look at the North-American and worldwide market. Therefore, we have created this complete resource that tells you exactly how and where Kia cars are made.
Kia cars for the North-American market are mainly made in Westpoint, Georgia. Furthermore, Hyundai is the primary provider of engines and transmissions for Kia in the United States. Hyundai makes their Smartstream engines and transmissions in Montgomery, Alabama. 6-speed and 8-speed automatic transmissions are made by Kia themselves in West Point, Georgia.
On a global scale, Kia cars are mainly made in Woojeong-myeon, Gwangmyeon, or Gwangju, South Korea. These facilities have a combined output of 1,236 million Kia cars per year. Another important facility is the Yangcheng plant in China which has an annual output of 750,000 cars per year.
However, that certainly doesn’t answer the question entirely. In this blog post, we’ll go through all assembly locations (for the North-American market and worldwide). Furthermore, we’ll discuss where the engines and transmissions are made and how many each facility makes. We also take a deep dive into where the parts are made, where the seats are made, and who is responsible for making the technology that goes into a Kia. We even have a look at where they get their steel from. Read on!
One last note before we begin, Kia gets a lot of its resources from Hyundai. We’ve written an extensive article about where Hyundai cars are made, and we recommend you read that too to get a complete understanding of the operations of Kia.
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia
Interestingly enough, Kia has one of its main facilities in West Point, Georgia. This is because the North American market is an essential market for Kia, and, therefore, they decided to open up their own facility in November of 2009. The facility is strategically located close to the American plan of Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama, since Kia receives engines and parts from Hyundai.
The Georgia plant has an annual capacity of 360,000 vehicles. Furthermore, Kia also manufactures its own 6-speed and 8-speed automatics at this location. Currently, Kia assembles the following models at this facility: Sportage, Sorento, Telluride, and Optima. Click on the hyperlinks of these cars to read an article that dives deeper into the manufacturing process of that car.
The plant has 3,000 employees in the plant itself, and nearby suppliers employ 7,500 people. In return for creating a minimum of 2,500 jobs, Kia was promised significant tax incentives by the State of Georgia until 2024.
Kia’s largest facility is located in Woojeong-myeon, South Korea. The facility has a surface area of 34.4 million sqft. This is mainly because the facility also has a sizeable test track that has a total length of 8.7 miles, including a high-speed oval and 32 different road surfaces.
Autoland Hwasung assembles the Optima, Cadenza, Forte, Sorento, and Mohave and has an annual production output of 563,000 vehicles.
Another important one is Autoland Gwangmyeon. This is a sizeable Korean facility for Kia with a surface area of 5.37 million sqft. Furthermore, the facility has an annual output of 340,000 vehicles, slightly less than the 360,000 of the Georgia plant in the United States.
The facility currently manufactures various vehicles such as the Rio, Stonic, Carnival/Sedona, and the K9. Furthermore, this is also the only facility that manufactures the Kia Stinger that’s also sold in the United States.
This facility in Gwangju is a medium-sized facility compared to the other Korean facilities with a surface area of 11 million sqft. This facility doesn’t only assemble Kia cars such as the Soul, Seltos, Carens, Sportage, and Bongo. It’s also responsible for the production of Kia buses and military vehicles (an area both Hyundai and Kia are involved in).
Autoland Gwangju has the most sizeable production capacity of all Kia facilities, with an annual output of 620,000 vehicles. Furthermore, the facility also manufacturers engine blocks and presses the bodies of the cars, which explains why it’s such a massive facility.
Finally, we must mention the Yancheng plant(s) in China. This is because Yancheng is a central production hub for Kia. In total, Kia has three facilities in this city. One of these three facilities, the number 1 plant, is being leased out to Dongfeng Yueda, a local company that’s producing electric cars.
All three of the plants in Yancheng have a combined output of 890,000 vehicles per year. However, since the number 1 plant is being leased to another company, Kia currently only has a capacity of 750,000 vehicles at its Chinese plants.
- The Seosan plant is one of Kia’s smaller plants located in Seosan, South Korea. The plant manufacturers the Kia Ray and Picanto and has an annual production output of 230,000 Kia vehicles.
- The Anantapur Plant it he only plant Kia has in India. The facility opened in 2018 and has a surface area of 23 million sq-ft. The plant has an annual output of 300,000 vehicles and currently assembles the Kia Seltos and Carnival for the Indian market.
- The Monterrey plant in Pesqueria, Mexico is Kia’s only Mexican-based facility. The facility has an output of 300,000 vehicles per year and not only manufacturers some Kia’s, it also takes on a Hyundai from time to time such as the fifth generation Accent for the North-American market.
- The Lucky Motor Corporation is a part subsidiary of Kia in Pakistan. This joint venture has one facility in Karachi, Pakistan. It houses 2,000 employees but the annual output is unclear.
- The Zilina plant in Slovakia is Kia’s major European facility. The facility opened in 2007 and manufacturers the Cee’d, Venga and Sportage for the European market. It has an annual output of 300,000 vehicles.
- The Chu Lai plant in Vietnam has a surface area of 34.4 million sq-ft. It is part of a joint venture with Truong Hai Automobile. The annual output is unknown but it does seem to be one of the smaller facilities in terms of this factor.
Kia has a total of four different design centers around the world. These are located in Hwaseong, South Korea, Irvine, California, Frankfurt, Germany, and Shanghai/Yantai, China.
Namyang Design Center
As you know by now, Kia shares many facilities with Hyundai. The Namyang Design Center in Hwaseong, South Korea, is no exception. For Kia, the Namyang center is its most crucial design facility. The facility has 815.4 acres of land, and day-to-day use involves everything from design and prototyping to trackwork and crash testing. Furthermore, this facility also serves as a training ground for Kia and Hyundai employees worldwide.
Kia Design Center America
The Kia Design Center in the United States is located in Irvine, California, and was opened in 2008. The location for this design studio isn’t completely random since the design studio is attached to Kia’s corporate headquarter in the United States, which was opened at the same time.
The design center hosts 21.7 acres of land on which a design/modeling studio, a presentation, color, and trim room, a metal shop, and a paint booth are located.
Kia Design Center Europe
In 2007, just a year before the opening of the design center in California, Kia opened its European Design Center in Frankfurt, Germany. Previously, Kia had shared a facility with Hyundai in Russelheim, Germany. This new European headquarter of Kia is located adjacent to Frankfurt’s main showroom.
Kia Design Center China
Finally, Kia also has a design center in China split across the city of Shanghai and Yantai.
When we move onto the specifics of Kia cars, you’ll very quickly find that Kia’s are technically very similar to Hyundai’s. This is because Hyundai is the parent company of Kia. Since Hyundai is much larger than Kia, Hyundai is responsible for the production of the engines and also the majority of other parts. Below, we’ll give you an outline of the engines Kia uses and where they are made. For a more in-depth overview, please read this article: This Is Where Hyundai Cars Are Made.
- Nu, Theta, Delta V6, Mu, Sigma and Lambda engines: mainly made at the Asan plant in South Korea which has an output of 600,000 engines per year. Used by various generation of the Stinger, Sportage, Sorento, Telluride, Optima and Soul.
- Gamma, Theta and Smartstream engines for the North American-Market: mainly made at the Montgomery, Alabama plant. The facility makes 700,000 engines per year for current generations of the Stinger, Sportage, Sorento, and Optima.
- European engines: Many engines that are used in the European Kia’s are made at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing plant in Czech which has an annual output of 530,000 engines.
- R diesel engines: specifically the 1.5L and 2.0L BS6 are made at the Hyundai Motor India plant which has an output of 850,000 engines per year. These are used previous generations of the Stinger, Sportage and Sorento.
- The U diesel engines: manufactured at the Žilina Kia factory in Žilina, Slovakia. They are used in previous generations of the Soul, Optima and Sportage.
- Beta, and Sigma engines: made in Ulsan, South Korea at the Hyundai facility. Beta engines were used in generations of the Soul, Optima and Sportage whereas Sigma engines were used in the first generation of the Kia Sorento.
Transmissions, Seats And More
Like the engines, the transmissions and other vital parts of the car are primarily made by Hyundai. However, it’s worth noting that Kia only recently started making their own transmissions. We’ll have a look at those first, and then we’ll look at the Hyundai-made transmissions.
In 2009 Kia introduced its first transmission that was made in-house. This transmission was a 6-speed automatic made at the facility in West Point, Georgia, for the North American market. Eventually, Kia also developed an 8-speed automatic transmission. They first introduced the AWD version of this transmission and, in 2016, they introduced the FWD version.
The rest of the transmissions that Kia uses are made by Hyundai TRANSYS, a subsidiary of Hyundai. Hyundai TRANSYS is officially a merger between Hyundai DYMOS and Hyundai Powertech, which were two different companies, both making transmissions for Hyundai.
Hyundai TRANSYS has multiple locations worldwide. We’ve listed them below. If a Kia doesn’t have a 6-speed automatic made after 2009 or an 8-speed automatic, it likely has an automatic, manual, DCT, or CVT made in one of the locations stated below.
Furthermore, we also want to state that some of these locations don’t only make transmissions, but they’re essential suppliers in terms of foam pads or seating for Hyundai and Kia. Therefore, we’ve included these suppliers on the list as well.
- Jigok Plant: automatic transmissions and CVT (full line-up)
- Seongyeon Plant: manual transmissions, DCT, axles and special powertrains (for railway and military)
- Dongtan: seat R&D center
- Hwaseong: powertrain R&D center
- Hyundai Mseat (Asan/Ulsan): Seats
- Georgia Plant: automatic transmissions, seats and seat foam pad for the North-American market
- Michigan: R&D Center/Office
- Rizhao Plant 1: automatic transmission, DCT, axles
- Beijing Plant: manual transmission, DCT
- Rizhao Plant 2: automatic transmission, front-wheel 6-speed, hybrid automatic transmission
- Beijing Seat Plant: seats and seat foam pad
- Cangzhou Plant: seats and seat foam pad
- Sichuan Plant: transmissions, axles and seats
- Chongqing Plant: seats and seat foam pad
Not surprisingly, the technology that goes into a Kia is also sourced from Hyundai subsidiaries. In total there are three crucial technological suppliers that are part of the Hyundai-Kia group. Again, for a more in-depth look, we advise you to read the article about where Hyundai cars are made that we’ve linked to earlier.
Hyundai MOBIS is an essential partner that’s responsible for making the chassis, cockpit, and front-end modules, multimedia systems, instrument panels, steering parts, electronic stability parts, anti-lock brake system parts, and so on. It has multiple locations worldwide.
Hyundai KEFICO is responsible for producing injections systems and the incorporation of artificial intelligence, and a large part of the technology used in EVs (such as regenerative braking). They also make many sensors, actuators, modules, and control units.
Hyundai AutoEver is an affiliate that’s responsible for all the software that’s used in cars. They don’t manufacture any parts, but they create the software used for location-based services, multimedia, and all other connectivity-based purposes.
Body parts for Kia’s are made by a Hyundai subsidiary named Partecs. They make body parts (such as doors, hoods, and everything else that consists of pressed metal or plastic). The company has its headquarters in Seosan, Korea, and they also have a plant attached that manufactures these body parts. Furthermore, they have a secondary location in Iksan, South Korea, where the same body parts are made.
It will be no surprise that an affiliated company also makes all the lights on a Kia. This company is called Hyundai IHL, and they solely focus on making headlights, taillights, and indicator lights for Kia. In Gyeongju, South Korea, they have one manufacturing plant that provides lamps for all Hyundai and Kia sold worldwide.
Hyundai needs an enormous amount of steel to make sure both Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis have enough material to keep their operations running. For this reason, Hyundai is also kind of a steel manufacturing company. They have three subsidiaries that make different kinds of steel that are also used in Kia vehicles:
- Hyundai Steel: manufactures cold, rolled steel that’s eventually used to make large parts from.
- Hyundai BNGsteel: manufactures stainless steel sheets and automotive parts.
- Hyundai Specialsteel: manufactures wire rods, steel bars, automotive parts and materials.
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