Kia Motors America has confirmed that the first vehicle to roll out of its new $1 billion assembly facility in West Point, Georgia, will be the next-generation Sorento crossover. Production of this new 2011 Sorento, which was first seen at the Seoul Motor Show in April and subsequently displayed here at the New York Auto Show, is set to begin later in the year. With more contemporary styling by Kia's Peter Schreyer and enhanced amenities, the Sorento aims to significantly raise its image in the increasingly crowded compact crossover arena. Structurally, it swaps the current model's body-on-frame configuration for a unitized design that yields more car-like ride and handling qualities. In addition to offering buyers the choice of a 2.4-liter inline-four or a 3.5-liter V6 and two- and four-wheel drive, Kia's slick crossover-to-be will also introduce a new and more efficient six-speed automatic transmission and offer three-row seating for up to seven passengers.
Michael Sprague, vice-president of marketing for KMA, pointed out that the firm has invested a great deal of time and effort to properly prepare its workforce at this state-of-the-art Kia Motors Manufacturing, Georgia (KMMG) facility for what he sees as a "historic milestone." Ultimately, KMMG will employ up to 2,500 people and be capable of turning out 300,000 total vehicles per year. Kia has yet to announce plans for any other models that will come out of the plant.