Kia to invest $1.6 billion in West Point plant vehicle assembly plant

Kia Motors sent yet another major signal Wednesday that its fast-paced growth at its mammoth auto assembly plant in West Point, Ga., is here for the long term.

The company, along with several agencies in Troup County and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, said it will be investing $1.6 billion in machinery and other equipment over the next 16 years to “satisfy demand” for Kia’s vehicles in the U.S.

“Kia has an exceptional track record of growth in our state,” Deal said in a statement. “The wave of economic impact created by Kia’s presence in Georgia goes far beyond the 10,000-plus jobs the company and its suppliers have created and will underpin the region’s economy for generations to come.”

Since announcing in 2006 plans to build a manufacturing plant on 2,200 acres in West Point and Troup County - about 45 minutes southwest of Atlanta - and launching production in November 2009, Kia Motors hasn’t looked back. The company has rapidly ramped up hiring and production, with U.S. sales of Sorento crossover utility vehicles and now the Optima four-door sedan fueling growth.

In February of this year, the company hit the milestone of assembling its 500,000th vehicle. The behometh plant already has a capacity for manufacturing 360,000 vehicles each year.