2011 Kia SorentoEnlarge Photo
Kia’s first US-built vehicle, a 2011 Sorento SUV, has rolled off the production line at the automaker’s newly built plant in Georgia. The all-white SUV is the first of an expected 300,000 vehicles to be built at the plant annually, and is set to go on sale in January.
As for the actual plant, Kia states that it employs more than 2,500 workers directly, with on-site and nearby suppliers creating another 7,500 additional jobs in the area. The site also represents an investment of more than $1 billion by Kia.
Built on 2,200 acres, the complex includes a body stamping facility, a transmission shop where the Sorento’s six-speed automatic transmission is produced and a two mile test track.
The plant’s 186-foot-long stamping press delivers 5,400 tons of pressure to stamp steel into 17 different types of vehicle panels for the Sorento, operating at a speed of seven to 15 strokes per minute. The general assembly area is also outfitted with more than a half mile of height-adjustable conveyors and wooden flooring is used to provide a more comfortable and forgiving work environment for team members.