Kia will invest $100 million in 2012 to boost production capacity at its vehicle assembly plant in West Point, Ga., from 300,000 units a year to 360,000, the company said.
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, are now built at the plant.
Kia's U.S. sales were up 45 percent through May to 200,060 units.
The additional capacity should ease some production strains on the plant, which has been running near full capacity for months to keep up with the automaker's sales growth.
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. The company has already hired 1,000 workers to staff the third shift, bringing the plant's total employment to more than 3,000 workers.