In related news, Kia has selected Georgia as the site of its first North American assembly plant. Kia had been strongly wooed by the state of Mississippi, but the new Kia assembly plant will be built in West Point instead, on the western edge of Georgia. The Korean automaker will invest 1.2 billion dollars to get the facility up and running, and plans to employ about 2,500 people when it starts operations in 2009.
DaimlerChrysler is making investments in production facilities, too, but not in North America. Instead, the company’s Toluca, Mexico assembly plant is getting a one billion dollar upgrade, including two new industrial parks to serve suppliers. Toluca has produced more than one million PT Cruisers, and will be re-tooled to make the PT Cruiser’s replacement – and to be more flexible so that it can react quicker to market shifts.