This month, Kia will pass an informal milestone – local Slovak employees will outnumber the 56 expatriate Koreans based here.
But by year-end, Kia will employ 600 at its Slovakian assembly plant, says spokesman Dusan Dvorak.
Major earthmoving at this remote site 210km northeast of Bratislava continued until November, aided by a late start to winter in the Carpathian Mountains.
Some parts of the factory already have a roof atop the steel I-beams, but a substantial part of the complex is still a snow-covered plain, with flags designating the main contours of the buildings.
“This will be the office,” said assistant construction director Jin-Seong Kim, gesturing past 1.5-meter piles of snow. “The paint shop and the assembly areas will be like wings from here.”
When series production begins in December 2006, administrative workers can watch painted car bodies travel past their offices to final assembly on an 89-meter glass-covered conveyer belt.