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This Is Where The Kia Sportage Is Made

We’ve written extensively about the Kia Sportage and its capabilities on this blog. Today we’re going to look at where the Sportage 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 Sportage manufactured from 2021 onwards are assembled in West Point, Georgia, for the North American market. The Smartstream engines it uses are made by Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama. It has a 6-speed and an 8-speed automatic transmission made in West Point, Georgia, and a 6-speed manual and 7-speed DCT made by Hyundai in South Korea or China.

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!

Assembly Locations Per Generation

The first generation of the Kia Sportage was sold from 1995 – 2002 in North America and until 2004 in other parts of the world. This generation was assembled in various places, with the primary location being the Hwaseong plant in South Korea. Other places included Osnabruck, Germany, Kaliningrad, Russia, Karachi, Pakistan, and Zhanjiang, China.

The second generation started sales in 2005 and continued until 2010 (although the Chinese market still had this car until 2015). In South Korea, assembly was shifted to the Gwangju plant. Other assembly locations included Zilina, Slovakia, Yancheng, China, Gurun, Malaysia, Kaliningrad, Russia, Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, and Quito, Ecuador.

The third generation was sold from 2010 – 2015 globally, although China had this car from 2010 – 2018. Kia trimmed down on the number of assembly locations, although the same plants were used for the second and third generations. These included South Korea, Slovakia, China, Russia, and Malaysia.

Assembly locations remained unchanged for the fourth generation of the Sportage sold between 2017 – 2021, although Karachi, Pakistan, and Batna, Algeria were added to the list.

The fifth generation of the Sportage started production in 2021 and starts sales in 2022 as a 2023 model year. This car is assembled in Gwangju, South Korea, Zilina, Slovakia, and West Point, Georgia, for the North American market.

1) Gwangju, South Korea 2) Zilina, Slovakia 3) West Point, Georgia

Engines

The engine situation of the Kia Sportage is an interesting one. This is because Kia has sourced engines from Mazda for the first generation. The FE petrol engines were built at the Miyoshi plant in Hiroshima, Japan. The RF diesel engines were most likely also made at this location since it’s technically similar to the FE engines.

For all other generations, Kia had made use of engines made by Hyundai. This sounds strange but is very logical. This is because Hyundai is the parent company of Kia. Hyundai, therefore, develops engines for Hyundai and Kia.

The second generation of the Sportage used Beta II, Delta V6 petrol, and D diesel engines. The Beta II engines and the D diesel engines were made in Ulsan, South Korea. The Delta V6 engines were made in Asan, South Korea.

The Sportage used Gamma, Theta II petrol engines, and U and R diesel engines for the third generation. The Gamma and Theta II engines for the North American market were most likely made in Alabama, Montgomery, since Hyundai manufactured those engines in this location. The U diesel engines were most likely made in Zilina, Slovakia, whereas the R diesel engines were made in Hyderabad, Telangana in India. This is where all Hyundai R diesel engines (also referred to as the BS6) come from.

The fourth generation had a broadly similar engine series. They were the Gamma and Theta II series made in the exact location as the other generation. There were upgraded versions of the diesel engines called the U II and R II, which were made in the exact locations as their predecessors. The only new additions were the Nu petrol engines and the Smartstream D diesel engines; both made at the Montgomery plant in Alabama.

The fifth and current generation of the Kia Sportage uses Smartstream petrol and diesel engines and hybrid drivetrains that are all made in Montgomery, Alabama, for the American market.

1) Montgomery, Alabama

Transmissions

The transmissions are always an exciting part to figure out for a Kia. This is because Hyundai has traditionally also been responsible for these components. Therefore, most of the transmissions are made by a subsidiary named Hyundai TRANSYS, which has locations worldwide. Furthermore, Hyundai did start making its own 6-speed automatic, and later an 8-speed automatic, in its plant in Georgia.

The first generation of the Kia Sportage used a 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual made by Hyundai. The second generation used a 5- and 6-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic, all made by Hyundai.

The third generation also had a 5- and 6-speed manual made by Hyundai. However, a 6-speed automatic was added to the mix, which Kia produced in West Point, Georgia.

The fourth and fifth generations of the Sportage have a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed DCT made by Hyundai. However, it also had a 6-speed automatic and a newly developed 8-speed automatic, all made by Kia in West Point, Georgia.

All transmissions made by Hyundai Transys are manufactured in one of the following locations.

The manual transmissions are most likely source from one of the following plants:

  • Seongyeon, South Korea
  • Beijng, China

The automatic transmissions (that are not 6-speed or 8-speed) are 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
1) Seongyeon, South Korea 2) Beijing, China 3) Rizhao City, China 4) Jigok, South Korea

Tires

Unfortunately, Kia has no information available about what brand of tires come stock on the Eclipse Cross. Therefore, it’s impossible to give information about this. However, there is a way to figure this out yourself.

Suppose you want to know exactly where the tires of your Kia Sportage are made, then you can look up the DOT code on the side of your tires. This code is not that large, so you’ll have to take a moment to find it. It’s an extended code of letters and numbers that starts with the letters ‘DOT’. DOT stands for Department Of Transportation.

After the DOT letters, you’ll find a combination of three letters, numbers, or a mix. You can search on the internet for the specific three number/letter combination you have to find the exact manufacturer and location where the tires are made. For example, ‘1M3’. In this case, 1M3 indicates Michelin makes the tire in Greenville, South Carolina.

Who Designed The Kia Sportage?

The third (2010 – 2015) and fourth-generation (2015 – 2021) of the Kia Sportage were designed by Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer. It’s assumed he’s also responsible for the design of the fifth generation (2022 – present) of the Kia Sportage because he’s still in charge of this department. 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 created three generations of cars for Hyundai and three for Genesis.

Sources