Kia Motors today marks the tenth anniversary of production in Europe. From the official launch of volume production on 7 December 2006, over 2.5 million vehicles and 3.8 million engines have rolled off production lines at Kia Motors Slovakia in Žilina.
The company has invested more than 1.7 billion EUR since its arrival in Slovakia, generating over 20,000 jobs directly at the plant and among 40 of the facility’s most significant Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. Operating three production shifts each day, Kia alone employs approximately 3,800 people. Kia currently manufactures the cee’d model family, Sportage and Venga at the facility, and exports to 95 countries worldwide. 14% of models produced in Žilina are right-hand drive cars, while almost 40,000 Kia cars produced in Kia’s only European plant are present on Slovak roads.
Eek-Hee Lee, President and CEO of Kia Motors Slovakia, commented: “In the past decade, our company has become one of the biggest employers, producers, exporters and taxpayers in Slovakia. I would like to express my deep thanks mainly to our employees for their effort and passion. They have been the major force in achieving our production and business results over the past decade, and pushed the company to become one of the most efficient production facilities across the Hyundai Motor Group.”
The initial investment for building the plant represented 700 million EUR. The Korean manufacturer has continuously invested into production of new models at the facility, as well as installation of new technologies, with the company’s total investment in the region now totaling around 1.7 billion EUR. In 2016, Kia has invested 60 million EUR in Žilina, with plans to invest a further 130 million EUR in 2017 in innovating the company’s existing product portfolio.
Kia Motors Slovakia has so far paid corporate income tax of around 320 million EUR in Slovakia. Accounting for all taxes, customs duties and levies, Kia has contributed to the state budget or local self-governing region four times the amount drawn in state incentives and tax releases.
Kia Motors Slovakia currently employs around 3,800 people directly at the Žilina facility, with an average age of 35. The longest serving member of staff at the facility has been with the company for 12 years, seven months and four days. Over 800 people have worked at Kia Motors Slovakia for more than 10 years, and almost 2,800 people longer than 5 years, confirming the company’s position among the top employers in the country. Kia is committed to developing the skills and competencies of its employees, and has organised 8,900 training courses for staff since 2006. From the start of full vehicle production, Kia Motors Slovakia has issued over 2,160,000 lunches to its employees in the canteens.
Jan Taliga, Head of Press Shop, Kia Motors Slovakia, commented: “We fondly remember the moment the very first Kia cee’d model rolled off of the production line. As the first Slovak employee, I have witnessed not only the first stages of construction, but also the extension of production from one to two and then three working shifts. During my time working for Kia, I have developed my skills, and enjoyed working as part of a team with my colleagues.”
In the last 10 years, the most popular model produced by Kia in Žilina has been the Kia cee’d model family, accounting for 45% of the total number of vehicles manufactured so far, followed by the brand’s current European best-seller, the Kia Sportage. The most popular colours among customers are black, white and silver.
Every day, two trains and 90 transporters are dispatched, sending 1,400 cars to 95 countries globally. Since 2006, Kia has exported most of its vehicles to Russia (18%), the UK (12%), Germany (9%), Spain (6%), and Italy (6%). Žilina has also produced a series of unique fleet orders for the Slovak and Polish Police Forces, Czech Post, Slovak representatives of an international car rental company, as well as both the biggest pharmaceutical manufacturer and mobile service provider in Poland.
The plant is home to two engine production shops. The facility’s 1.6-litre diesel engine is the single most popular engine produced in Slovakia, accounting for 20% of the total engine production to date, though the majority of the 3.8 million units produced are gasoline engines (53%). Almost half of the engines produced by Kia are exported to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech in Nošovice in the Czech Republic.
Among the most favoured long-term employee benefits are direct bus lines provided by the company. 32 company buses transport employees to and from work and cover 10,275 km throughout the Žilina region every day – almost 2.5 million km annually, and equivalent to one bus driving around the world more than 62 times in a year.