Kia Sportage production steps up amid rising sales

Over 1,000 new jobs will be created at the Zilina plant in Slovakia because of the Korean car maker’s rapid success in Europe, according to Paul Philpott, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe.

He said: “Strong demand for all our models and especially our new Sportage compact SUV, made here in Europe, means we need to significantly increase production at our Slovakia facility.”

Kia is one of the fastest growing car companies in Europe and in August 2011 alone its market share increased by a fifth.

Once dismissed as a budget brand, Kia has changed perceptions with a number of stylish, well-built and value-for-money new cars.

The Kia Sportage was one of the first to be designed by ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer. Its ‘tiger face’ and bold style has successfully been repeated on a string of popular new cars such as the Kia Soul and new Kia Picanto city car.

Prices for the Kia Sportage SUV crossover start from £17,495 and, like all new Kia cars, it comes with a seven-year (100,000 mile) warranty – the longest in the industry alongside Vauxhall’s 100,000 mile lifetime warranty.

The plant in Zilina will now take on extra workers and start a third shift to meet demand for the Kia Sportage.

The Slovakia factory also builds the Kia Venga MPV and the Kia cee’d including five-door hatchback, three-door hatchback and estate models.

“The creation of the third shift at Zilina is the latest step in Kia’s long-term process of building cars locally to best meet local consumers’ needs and tastes,” said Philpott.

The local approach started with the European-designed and built 2012 Kia Rio hatchback, which was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.