Kia’s manufacturing facility in West Point, GA, is currently busy cranking out their Sorrento crossover alongside Hyundai’s Santa Fe SUV. There’s still some capacity leftover, so the Korean automaker has announced plans to begin building their new Optima sedan in the Georgia plant. Even better, this move will create an estimated 700 new jobs within Kia’s plant, which will have a ripple effect on the local economy. Kia says the overall net effect will be 7,500 more jobs for local suppliers, but that estimate may be generous; still, I give a big thumbs up to any company creating jobs in the current economy.
It’s not known if Kia will continue to manufacture the Santa Fe for Hyundai, but my guess is yes. Hyundai’s close to capacity at their Montgomery, AL plant, building the new Sonata and new Elantra models. Short of expanding their current production facility (an idea that Hyundai management is currently discussing), Hyundai would need to cut back on Sonata and Elantra production to resume building Santa Fe SUVs. Since demand for Hyundai’s compact and mid-size sedan is still outstripping supply, I’d call that move highly unlikely.
Source: Left Lane News