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Kia rolls out to Mérida, 9 other cities

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Kia showrooms will open throughout Mexico in July. One of them will be in Mérida. Photo: Handout
Kia showrooms will open throughout Mexico in July. One of them will be in Mérida. Photo: Handout

South Korean automaker Kia will open showrooms in 10 major cities this July throughout Mexico, El Financiaro reported last week.

Kia confirmed yesterday that one of those new showrooms will be in Mérida.

Kia enters the Mexican auto market in advance of its first manufacturing plant in the country, which should begin production in the first half of 2016.

The $63 USD million investment will bring Kia access to 68 percent of the domestic market, said Horacio Chavez, CEO of Kia Motors Mexico.

The showrooms will offer the Forte compact sedan, the small SUV Sportage and medium-sized SUV Sorento Each showroom will generate between 50 and 80 jobs with a target of  7,000 sales in the second half of the year.

Kia’s Mexican plant will begin by producing the Forte and Rio subcompact. Photo: Kia
Kia’s Mexican plant will begin by producing the Forte and Rio subcompact. Photo: Kia

Kia’s $1 billion assembly plant, in northern state of Nuevo León, will be the automaker’s largest and its first in Mexico when it opens early next year. It will have the capacity to produce 300,000 cars annually.

The plant gives Kia a competitive advantage. Automakers making cars in Mexico are exempt from a 20 per cent import tariff within 10 per cent of their local output. The plant will also assist with demand in the U.S. market, where its sole factory is running at full capacity.

Photo: Kia
Photo: Kia

Kia joins Mazda, Honda, Audi, and a Renault-Nissan-Daimler partnership, all of which in the past six months have either begun manufacturing vehicles from new Mexican factories or disclosed plans to do so, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Kia’s parent company, Hyundai, has been selling the Sonata, Elantra, Tucson and i10 in Mexico since last year.

Kia received a number of awards last year including being named “Best Value Brand” by Kelley Blue Book, being ranked 35th by Interbrand as a Top 50 Green Brand, becoming the highest-ranked mainstream brand in Strategic Vision’s Total Quality Index Study, and being ranked 6th in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Study.

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