Kia to open $1 billion car assembly plant in Mexico

AFP
The Vice President of global strategy at Kia Motors, Hyung-Kun Lee, delivers a speech in Mexico City on August 27, 2014
The Vice President of global strategy at Kia Motors, Hyung-Kun Lee, delivers a speech in Mexico City on August 27, 2014 (AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

South Korean carmaker Kia Motors on Wednesday announced plans to build its first auto assembly plant in Mexico.

The $1 billion plant is to be built near the city of Monterrey in northern Mexico and would begin operations in 2016.

It will have state-of-the-art technology and capacity to make 300,000 vehicles a year, the company's vice president for global strategy, Hyung-Kun Lee said.

Lee did not say what types or models of vehicles are to be produced there.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who joined Lee for the announcement, said the South Korean carmaker would invest more than $1 billion in the project.

KIA was the third foreign carmaker in as many months to announce major projects in Mexico.

In July, BMW said it plans to install a $1 billion plant in San Luis Potosi with annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles.

In June, Renault and Mercedes-Benz announced plans to co-produce up to 300,000 compact cars a year in Aguascalientes. The project involves a $1.35 billion investment.

Mexico is the world's eighth largest auto producer, and fourth largest auto exporter.