Kia to build Optima midsize sedan in Georgia

Kia Motors announced today at the New York International Auto Show that it will begin producing the Optima midsize sedan at its plant in West Point, Ga., where it already builds the Sorento crossover sport utility vehicle.

Production on the 2012 Optima will begin in the third quarter of this year, according to a statement from the office of Governor Nathan Deal. Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia is accepting applications for the 1,000 workers it intends to hire to support the new production line. That hiring surge was reported last year, and the Optima manufacturing is not expected to add to the jobs total.

Kia, a South Korean company, began mass production of the 2011 Kia Sorento in November 2009. At full capacity, the plant will have the ability to assemble 300,000 vehicles annually from U.S. and globally sourced parts. The total number of employees at Kia's Georgia manufacturing operation is expected to reach nearly 3,000 later this year.