The ribbon is cut and the cars are rolling off the assembly line at Kia’s new factory in Monterrey, Mexico, the automaker’s second in the western hemisphere after opening a plant in Georgia about eight years ago.
At a cost of more than $3-billion, the plant is home to production of the facelifted 2017 Kia Forte sedan, with the Forte5 hatchback and another compact car coming soon. The AutoGuide.com team had a chance to check out the new plant and learn how Kia hopes it will help continue its rapid growth.
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1. It’s Massive
Kia’s newest plant spans some 2.9 million square feet, which is more than 600,000 sq-ft larger than the Cowboys Stadium. The property itself is approximately 1,700 acres, more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park, and is home to 13 suppliers that have facilities on-site.
2. It Was Built In a Hurry
Kia broke ground on the plant in suburban Monterrey, Mexico, in October 2014, and it was completed in November 2015, less than 15 months later. For perspective, it takes about six months on average to build a single-family house in the U.S.
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3. It Has Its Own Test Track
Every vehicle that rolls off the assembly line is put through its paces on a specialized test track that spans the entire width of the property, and includes uneven pavement, high-speed stretches and hills that feature 30 percent grades.
4. It’s a Major Employer
The plant already employs 7,000 people, just months after production of the 2017 Kia Forte sedan got underway. The automaker is aiming to double that to 14,000 jobs as it adds a second and third shift.
See Also: Which Cars Are Being Built in Mexico?
5. It Can Build a Lot of Cars
The plant can produce 400,000 vehicles annually, equivalent to the number of Ford F-Series pickups sold in the U.S. in the first half of 2016 and about 10 percent of Kia’s global capacity. Production of the Forte sedan is now underway, with plans to add the Forte5 hatchback and another small car in the near future.
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