Kia Motors has manufactured its three millionth car in Europe since production began in Žilina, Slovakia in 2006.
The three millionth car to roll off the production line is a Kia cee’d. The car is a fusion white five-door hatchback in ‘GT-Line’ specification, built for a customer in Iceland. It is fitted with a 1.0-litre T-GDi (Turbo Gasoline-Direct injection) engine.
In 2017, Kia Motors Slovakia manufactured 335,600 vehicles and 539,987 engines, exporting to more than 80 countries around the world. The most popular engine last year was the 1.7-litre CRDi (Common-Rail Direct injection) diesel engine.
Žilina is home to the production of three models in Kia’s European line-up – the popular Kia cee’d model family (incorporating cee’d five-door hatchback, Sportswagon and pro_cee’d), the best-selling Kia Sportage and the Kia Venga compact MPV. Since May 2013, Kia Motors Slovakia has also manufactured the brand’s first-ever performance models for Europe, the high-powered cee’d GT and pro_cee’d GT. Together, Kia’s range of European-manufactured models account for nearly 50 per cent of the company’s total European sales.
Kia’s European production base has built a reputation for producing high quality vehicles, and plays an important role in helping the brand deliver its industry-leading seven-year/100,000 mile warranty. The unique warranty is applied as standard to every Kia car sold in Europe.
European production for two best-selling models
Since volume production started, the Kia cee’d model family – designed, engineered and manufactured exclusively in Europe for the European market – has accounted for almost half of total production at Žilina. To date, Kia has manufactured close to 1.3 million units of the cee’d. In 2017, the cee’d was Kia’s third best-selling car in the UK.
The plant produced 646,300 first-generation cee’d vehicles from its launch in 2006, until the launch of the second-generation model in 2012. 647,700 second generation cars have been produced, and the facility is due to start production of the third-generation Ceed in the second quarter of 2018. Like its predecessors, the new model will be manufactured exclusively in Europe for European customers.
The Žilina plant has produced three generations of the Sportage compact SUV, commencing with the second-generation model in 2007. Since then, close to 1.4 million examples of the Sportage have been produced, with 104,500 second-generation models, 797,500 third-generation models and 492,000 of the current model, which entered production at the end of 2015.
Engine production – more than four-million engines built
As well as producing Kia’s most popular European models, Žilina has also been the European home of Kia engine manufacturing. With two engine production workshops on-site, more than four million engines have been produced since 2006.
Kia Motors Slovakia is responsible for the production of a range of petrol (1.4-litre MPI, 1.6-litre GDI and, for GT models, the 201 bhp 1.6-litre T-GDI) and diesel (1.4-, 1.6-, and 1.7-litre CRDi and 2.0-litre ‘R’) engines. The facility will also manufacture Kia’s efficient new ‘U3’ 1.6-litre diesel engine, which will power a range of vehicles in the coming years, including the all-new third-generation Kia Ceed.
The socio-economic benefits of Kia in Europe
A 2017 report by leading independent European economic consultancy, London Economics, entitled ‘The economic and societal benefits deriving from the presence of Kia in Europe’, highlighted the wider role played by Kia Motors across the continent.
Kia is a net contributor to the European economy: Kia Motors income tax, custom duty and sales contributions to the European governments totalled €1.2 billion in 2016. With the continuous expansion of production at the manufacturing facility in Žilina, Kia Motors Slovakia purchased 73 per cent of its supplies, worth €3.8 billion, from sources within Europe.
The report also notes that 184,386 people owe their jobs to the presence of the brand in Europe, employed directly by Kia or indirectly through the supply chain and sales and distribution. The Žilina facility has created around 15,000 direct and indirect jobs.