We’ve written extensively about the Kia Soul and its capabilities on this blog. Today we’re going to look at where the Soul is made. This seems to be a straightforward question, but this car consists of many components (engine, transmission, tires, etc.) made in different parts of the world. Let’s start with a quick answer:
Kia Soul manufactured from 2020 onwards are assembled in Gwangju, Korea. The engines are made by Hyundai in Beijing, China, Ulsan/Asan, South Korea, or Zilina, Slovakia. The transmissions are also made by Hyundai and manufactured in Beijing/Rizhao City, China, or Seongyeon/Jigok, South Korea.
However, that certainly doesn’t answer the question entirely. Below, we’ll first dive into detail about the assembly location. After, that we’ll give you the complete rundown of where the engines are made, and we’ll do the same for all transmissions used in this vehicle. Finally, we’ll talk about how to identify which tires you have and where they are manufactured precisely. Read on!
Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A Kia Soul
Assembly Locations Per Generation
The first generation of the Kia soul started production in 2008. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that the Soul was sold in the Asian market, and not until 2010 that it also made its way to other parts of the world, including North America.
In its home country, South Korea, the Soul was made in the Gwangju plant alongside other Kia’s such as the Seltos, Carens, and Sportage. Other manufacturing locations include the Yangcheng plant in Jiangsu, China, Kaliningrad, Russia, and Oskemen, Kazakhstan.
The second generation of the Soul was sold between 2014 – 2019. Production for these cars took place in the exact locations in Korea and Russia. The sites in China and Kazakhstan were abandoned for this particular car.
The third generation of the Soul started sales in 2020 and is still produced today. Production only takes place at the Gwangju plant in South Korea for this generation.
Also read: 10 Common Problems Of A Kia Soul EV
Besides knowing where the assembly of a car takes place, it’s also essential to understand where different parts of the car are built. One of the most important parts is, of course, the engine. What’s interesting to note here is that the Soul has always used Hyundai engines.
This may sound confusing at first because Hyundai and Kia operate different brands. However, not many people know that Hyundai is the parent company of Kia. They share manufacturing facilities worldwide and also certain parts such as the engines.
The first generation of the Soul used different types of petrol and diesel series. The petrol series consisted of the Gamma, Beta II, and Nu series of engines. The diesel was a U II series engine. For the second generation, the Gamma was replaced by a Gamma II series, the Beta II series was canceled, and the Nu and U II series stayed the same. The third generation of the Soul only used Gamma II and Nu engines.
Below we’ve stated where Hyundai makes all these different types of engines:
- Gamma and Gamma II engines are most likely made by the Beijing Hyundai Motor Company.
- Beta II petrol engines are made by at the Ulsan factory in South Korea.
- Nu engines are made in Asan, South Korea for the Soul. These types of engines are also made in Montgomery, Alabama but because the assembly of the Soul takes place in South Korea it’s unlikely that they source engines from the United States.
- The U II diesel engine is manufactured at the Žilina Kia factory in Žilina, Slovakia.
When we look at the transmissions of this car, we see once again that Hyundai and Kia share these components a lot. Kia gets many transmissions from Hyundai; however, Kia also has its own manufacturing location in West Point, Georgia, where they make transmissions for themselves.
However, it’s unlikely that the transmissions that you find in a Kia Soul are made in Georgia. This is because Hyundai TRANSYS (the company that makes transmissions for Hyundai and Kia) also has many facilities in Korea and China. Since the Soul is assembled in Korea, it’s much more likely that the transmissions are also sourced from this region.
So, what we find is the following. The three generations of the Kia Soul have all used manual and automatic transmissions. The second generation also introduced a DCT transmission, and the third generation added a CVT on top of that.
The manual transmissions are most likely source from one of the following plants:
- Seongyeon, South Korea
- Beijng, China
The automatic transmissions are either sourced from these plants:
- Jigok, South Korea
- Rizhao City, China
The DCT transmissions are made in of these plants:
- Jigok, South Korea
- Beijing, China
- Rizhao City, China
And the CVT transmission is once again made in this plant:
- Jigok, South Korea
Finally, we also have to look at what kind of tires the Soul comes with and where these tires are manufactured. Usually, this is difficult information to get but, with the Soul, we feel we can make a decent assumption.
On several forums, Kia soul owners have stated that the OEM tires on a Kia Soul are Kumho Solus tires. This would indeed make sense given that Kumho has three manufacturing locations in Korea. Furthermore, one of them is in the same city as where the Soul is assembled.
Kumho makes its Korean tires in the following three plants: the Pyeongtaek Plant, the Gokseong Plant, and the Gwangju Plant (the city where the Soul is also assembled). Kumho has other locations worldwide, such as in China, but given that these plants line up so well, it’s likely that this is where the tires are made.
Who Designed The Kia Soul?
The second-generation (2014 – 2019) and third-generation (2020 – Present) of the Kia Soul were designed by Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer. Peter Schreyer became Chief Design Officer at KIA in 2006 after being an influential designer at the Volkswagen Group. At the Volkswagen Group, he designed several Audi’s and Volkswagens, including the first generation of the Audi TT.
At Kia, Schreyer has been responsible for designing 24 different generations of cars. Furthermore, he also designed three generations of cars for Hyundai and three for Genesis.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
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