Significant demand for Kia vehicles in Europe led the company’s European manufacturing facility in Zilina, Slovakia, to post record production and investment figures during 2011. The Kia facility produced more than 252,000 cars and 359,000 engines in 2011, representing increases of 10 and 12 per cent respectively over the previous year.
Kia also invested heavily through 2011, recruiting an additional 900 employees to staff a third production shift in January 2012. The new staff members take the total workforce at Zilina to more than 3,900 employees.
Expansion of Zilina’s engine shop to a maximum capacity of 450,000 units per year saw Kia invest EUR 200 million in the facility, and the company also donated EUR 400,000 to a range of environmental and community welfare initiatives in the region during the past 12 months.
“Last year was very successful for the Kia brand in Europe, with sales outperforming the market,” commented Benny Oeyen, Vice President Marketing and Product Planning, Kia Motors Europe. “At this moment we are the fastest growing brand in Europe.”
The increased demand for Kia products, at a time when the wider automotive industry is experiencing a drop in sales, is testament to the consumer appeal of its products’ striking design, low running costs, excellent value and build quality.
This year will see Kia invest an additional EUR 110 million in its Zilina facility and launch production of the all-new Kia cee’d. The dynamic newcomer is expected to play a key role in lifting total vehicle production at the facility to 285,000 units this year.
At Zilina in 2011, Kia produced more than 101,000 Sportage SUVs, representing 40 per cent of total production, and 103,000 cee’d (five-door, three-door and wagon) models, accounting for 41 per cent. Production of Kia Venga began in October 2011, and the B-segment MPV totalled 11,000 units and around 4 per cent of production, with the Hyundai ix35 SUV (produced at Zilina until June 2011) making up the remainder.
Kia’s commitment to supporting the communities in which it operates around the globe was illustrated by a total investment of EUR 400,000 in the local Zilina community last year. Almost half of the donation was allocated to environmental projects, with the remainder targeting community welfare, education and youth initiatives in Zilina city and neighbouring villages. Kia also actively supports its employees’ volunteering activities.