http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...ia-plant_x.htmKia Motors to set up first U.S. plant
SEOUL — Kia Motors (KIMTY), South Korea's second-largest automaker, announced Monday it will set up its first U.S. plant in Georgia.
Production will begin in 2009 and the $1.2 billion factory will employ 2,500 workers, Kia said. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and Kia President and CEO Euisun Chung made the formal announcement at a ceremony in Seoul.
Locations in Mississippi and Tennessee had also contended for the plant.
The facility in West Point, Ga., near the Alabama border, is expected to produce 300,000 vehicles per year at maximum capacity, Kia said. The Korean carmaker also said that five to six auto suppliers are expected to set up nearby, resulting in the creation of an additional 2,000 jobs.
The company, maker of the Optima and Amanti midsize sedans and the Sorento midsize SUV, is an affiliate of South Korea's largest carmaker, Hyundai, which has a factory in Montgomery, Ala., 75 miles away.
Proximity to the Hyundai site, combined with a $258 million incentive package from the state, helped sway Kia, Georgia state officials said.
Georgia has been hit hard by decisions at Ford and General Motors to close their plants in the state — largely due to increasing competition from Asian automakers.
Perdue said Kia's decision to locate in the state "is a testament to the tools, experience and know-how Georgia will deliver to one of the automotive industry's leading innovators."
Kia, which last year exported three-fourths of its South Korean production, is pursuing an aggressive overseas expansion. Besides moving into the United States, it's building a second plant in China and expects its first European factory to start up in Slovakia at the end of the year.
The company also supplies materials to partners for vehicle assembly in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and Iran.
"Kia Motors has entered an aggressive growth phase in the U.S," Chung said.
The Korean carmaker expects its sales in the United States and Canada to increase 15% to 350,000 vehicles in 2006, and grow further to 800,000 by 2010.
The company said that Kia Motors America posted record sales of 20,719 vehicles for the month of February, and is 3.2% ahead of its record setting 2005 sales pace.
In January Kia said its 2005 net profit rose 2.9% to $696.5 million as revenue rose 4.6% to $16.4 billion.
Kia sold 1.27 million vehicles worldwide in 2005, 13.9% more than the year before.
Kia said it has invested more than $300 million in the United States over the last four years.
Facilities include a research and development center in Ann Arbor, Mich., vehicle proving grounds in Mojave, Calif., and what it calls the largest automotive design studio in California, which it shares with Hyundai Motor America.
The company is currently constructing a $87 million corporate campus in Irvine, California, expected to open in December of 2006. The campus will include a design center.
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...-indiana_x.htmToyota, Fuji to make Camrys in Indiana
TOKYO — Toyota (TM)and partner Fuji Heavy (FUJHY), the maker of Subaru cars, will produce about 100,000 of the popular Toyota Camrys a year at Fuji's Indiana plant starting in the spring of 2007, the Japanese automakers said Monday.
The plans, outlined by the presidents of Toyota and Fuji Heavy in Tokyo, are expected to create about 1,000 jobs at the Subaru of Indiana plant, which now employs 2,300 people.
The plant will produce about 100,000 Camrys a year, raising the plant's annual production to 240,000 vehicles, the companies said.
The Camry sedan is the best-selling car in the United States and is now being produced in the United States only at Toyota's plant in Georgetown, Ky. The Subaru plant in Indiana currently produces Subaru Outback station wagons and Legacy sedans.
The automakers also said Fuji will work together to produce Fuji hybrid vehicles using Toyota's hybrid technology. Fuji Heavy President Kyoji Takenaka and Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe gave no additional details on that effort at a news conference.
Hybrid cars deliver better mileage than conventional cars by switching between a gasoline engine and an electric motor, and Toyota leads in selling hybrid vehicles.
In October, U.S. automaker General Motors said it was ending its alliance with Fuji and selling its entire 20% stake the company. At that time, Toyota bought an 8.7% stake in Fuji for $315 million and became the top shareholder in Fuji.
GM has been struggling to maintain U.S. market share in the face of competition from Asian automakers like Toyota, Honda and South Korea's Hyundai.
Brisk sales at Toyota, the world's second largest automaker, have put it on pace to surpass GM as the world's biggest automaker in the next year or two. Toyota reported a 34% rise in profit to 398 billion yen, or about $3 billion, for the quarter ended Dec. 31 as sales jumped in North America and Asia.
Set up in 1987, the Subaru Indiana plant made nearly 120,000 Subaru vehicles last year, including Outback station wagons, Legacy sedans and Baja and B9 Tribeca sport-utility vehicles.
GM, meanwhile, is embarking on a massive turnaround effort after losing $8.6 billion last year. Last week, GM sold a 17% stake it had in Suzuki, mostly to Suzuki, for about $2 billion to raise desperately needed cash.
GM and Suzuki said their partnership will continue, such as their joint venture production plant in Canada and cooperation in fuel-cell technology. GM still has a 3% stake in Suzuki, which makes small cars.
GM sold 9.2 million vehicles worldwide in 2005, the second-largest volume in the company's history. Toyota produced 7.4 million vehicles last year and plans to make 9.06 million this year.
Toyota shares, which have gained nearly 60% over the last year, rose 0.8% to close at 6,340 yen ($53) in Tokyo ahead of the announcement with Fuji.