To meet continuing high demand for the current Kia model range and the anticipated increases in sales triggered by the launch of new models next year, Kia will introduce a third production shift at its European facility in Slovakia and recruit 1,000 new employees. The recruiting process for skilled workers has already begun and will be completed by December, ensuring that three-shift operations can commence at Zilina in the first quarter of 2012. “The creation of the third shift at Zilina is the latest step in Kia’s long-term process of building cars locally that are tailored to best meet local consumers’ needs and tastes,” comments Paul Philpott, COO Kia Motors Europe. “Strong demand for all our models and especially our new Sportage compact SUV, which is made in Europe, means we need to significantly increase production at our Slovakia facility.”
Representing an investment of more than €1 billion, t he ultra-modern Zilina plant, which started operations in late 2006, is designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate new models and respond to fluctuations in overall market trends. The Sportage, spacious Venga MPV and cee’d family – five-door hatchback, wagon and three-door coupe – can be manufactured simultaneously on each of the final assembly lines. Last year, Kia manufactured more than 729,000 vehicles at its facilities outside Korea, with production in Europe, China and the USA accounting for 34.2 per cent of the global total of 2.1 million units. This year, over the first eight months, sales have climbed by 18.7 per cent in Europe, 24.4 per cent in China and 36.9 per cent in the USA. Responding to increased US demand, a third shift was recently introduced at Kia’s plant in West Point, Georgia, which manufactures Sorento SUV and Optima sedan vehicles, boosting employment to 3,000.
In Zilina, the 1,000 newly established positions at Kia Motors Slovakia will be across all stages of the manufacturing process and will be suitable mainly for skilled candidates with a technical background. As well as the new jobs created directly by Kia, it is anticipated that several thousand new jobs will become available at component suppliers located across the Slovak Republic.