Kia Auto Plant 'a Winning Ticket' for U.S. Town

      April 24, 2009 08:26

      Residents in the little town of West Point in Georgia are insulated against the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression thanks to a new Kia Motors manufacturing plant that opens at the end of this year.

      "Kia's is the only car factory scheduled to open in the country, drawing workers to one of the few regions now with concrete hopes of quickly escaping the economic downturn," the New York Times said Wednesday.

      "While much of the rest of the country remains mired in the depressing gray of recession, this rural town of fewer than 3,500 people on the Georgia-Alabama border, about 80 miles southwest of Atlanta, has somehow managed to draw the winning ticket in the nation's economic lottery," the daily added.

      A signboard put up by a resident of West Point, Georgia /Yonhap

      Kia plans to manufacture the Sorento SUV here. About 43,000 American workers have so far applied for 2,500 assembly-line jobs that will open late this year, a competition ratio of 17:1. Many applicants were laid off in Michigan, where U.S. automakers are clustered. Kia's subcontractors will employ another 7,500 workers.

      "We're the only place in the nation that is fixing to put between 7,000 and 10,000 manufacturing jobs online," Mayor Drew Ferguson told the paper. "We are the place that has the light at the end of the tunnel."

      Three years ago, Ferguson persuaded Kia to move to his town by offering incentives worth US$400 million including tax benefits.

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