Gov. Deal links Kia's success to Georgia's success as he visits the company's West Point plant.
Gov. Nathan Deal joined Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO for Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, at the company's West Point plant Wednesday to celebrate the growth and success at its first automotive manufacturing facility in the United States.
The occasion marked Deal's first official visit to KMMG since taking office.
"Kia's success is Georgia's success. KMMG has made an indelible and lasting impact on this state," said Deal. "We have a deep appreciation for Kia's continued investment in Georgia and for the vision of the company's leadership, which we have seen grow to fruition over the last seven years. The strong relationships that have developed between the company, the community and the state are a model for the kind of partnerships we strive for."
Kia announced in 2006 that Georgia would be the site of its first manufacturing site in North America. KMMG's production began in 2009 on the Sorento CUV, and the company announced in 2011 that it would add the Optima midsize sedan to its production line and increase its capacity in 2012 to 360,000 vehicles annually. KMMG has stated that it expects the number of jobs created by the company and its suppliers to amount to more than 10,000. A Georgia Tech study estimates the facility's economic impact to Georgia is approximately $4 billion per year.
"We are honored to host the governor today and celebrate with him the outstanding success KMMG has enjoyed in Georgia, thanks to his leadership and the exceptional business environment the state has cultivated," said Kia executive Byung Mo Ahn. "Our pride in this facility is exceeded only by the pride we have in our committed and highly trained team members who have contributed so much to our accomplishments."
Georgia has been instrumental in helping Kia recruit and train its workforce. The state constructed and staffs a 70,000-square-foot training center on the Kia site, where Georgia Quick Start, the state's award-winning workforce training program, operates the curriculum and training courses it developed for plant employees.
"We not only care about companies locating or expanding in Georgia, we care about helping them succeed here," said Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "Assets like the Georgia Ports and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are important to a global company such as Kia, and part of our ongoing commitment to companies we work with is to be sure they are able to take full advantage of what our state has to offer."