Europe's latest, most advanced and most efficient vehicle production facility has officially gone live as the first showroom ready Kia cee'd runs off the production line in Zilina, Slovakia.
In a high profile ceremony, the new cee'd was signed by production and quality control staff, senior management and local dignitaries. Employees joined Mr Euisun Chung, President and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation, Mr In-Kyu Bae, President and CEO, Kia Motors Slovakia, Mr Jan Slota, Mayor of Zilina and Mr Jean-Charles Lievens, Senior Vice President, Kia Motors Europe as they personally 'signed-off' the first cee'd.
The new Zilina plant - 200 km north-west of capital city Bratislava - was built in record time. The official groundbreaking took place in April 2004 with showroom production beginning on 7th December, only 28 months later.
Completed at a cost of 3-billion Euros, the new 300-robot plant aims to produce 100 cars per employee per year within the next few years. A full shift pattern and 3,000 employees will see the plant producing a capacity of 300,000 vehicles per year by 2009. At present, 1,300 staff will produce 5,000 cee'ds by the end of 2006, rising to 150,000 in 2007. Sportage production will start in summer 2007 and the cee'd wagon is due to join in the autumn.
Local worker, Andrea Jarasova is a final line specialist and she was happy to be at the ceremony: "We are all signing the car to commit to producing vehicles of the highest build quality possible. This is a special day for us all at Zilina."
Jean-Charles Lievens added: "This is an historic day for Kia Motors. The very first car in Kia history to be designed and built in Europe is ready. Who would have thought that Kia would produce a car for Europe just a few years ago? This day is a milestone in our development and underlines our company slogan - 'the power to surprise'. Indeed, the first cee'ds have been sown!"
The new five-door Kia cee'd will go on sale in the UK on 1 February 2007. Every model will come with a best-in-Europe seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty as standard.
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