Kia will invest $100 million to boost production capacity at its vehicle assembly plant in West Point, Ga., 20 percent in 2012, the company said today.
The expansion will increase the plant's production capacity from 300,000 units a year to 360,000, Kia said in a statement.
The move comes as Kia prepares to add a third shift at the plant to assemble the Kia Optima mid-sized sedan beginning in September. The Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe crossovers -- which share a platform with the Optima -- also are built at the plant.
Kia's U.S. sales jumped 53 percent in May to 48,212 units -- the carmaker's best-ever sales month . Sales through May were up 45 percent to 200,060 units.
The additional capacity should ease some production strains on the plant, which has been running at least near full capacity for months to keep up with the automaker's sales growth.
The Sorento is Kia's top-selling model with January-May sales of 51,765, up 23 percent.
Kia has been building the Sorento and Santa Fe at a high enough rate to suggest that full-year production of those vehicles alone would bring the plant to full capacity.
The expansion is expected to be completed in 2012, Kia said in a statement today. The company has already hired 1,000 new workers to staff the third shift, bringing the plant's total employment to more than 3,000 workers.