Monday, July 13, 2009

The Seoul of a New Machine

If you want good products sold at attractive prices and made in America, then get a foreign manufacturer to move in. Toyota and Honda have done it. Now Kia is taking a shot. No doubt the Korean company will succeed.

Clearly the Koreans gained some important principles from the US as a result of the Korean War. The country has flourished since the commuist advance was stopped at the 39th Parallel and now it is returning the favor. Kia has arrived and is doing its part to repair and rebuild the US economy. Of course this means the profits from selling those Kias will flow back to the home office in Korea. But that's how is should be.

Kia-Ville, Georgia: A small town catches a big break

Jul 9th 2009

West Point, Georgia -- population 3,500 -- was a small town with big troubles. Although its 8.6 percent unemployment rate put it below the state average of 9.7 percent, it was still facing recessionary problems that seem all too common. When the town's textile mills closed in the 1990s, the population began to leak away and business began shuttering their doors; the recent downturn only accelerated its decline.

Recently, however, West Point received some very good news. Kia, the Korean carmaker, has announced plans to open a $1.2 billion, 2,200-acre industrial park.

The first new building -- a factory that will construct the Kia Sorento Sport -- has already hired 500 workers. By the time it opens, the carmaker hopes to have 2,000 more employees. With a proposed group of auto-parts factories that will employ 7,500 more workers, Kia plans to bring 20,000 jobs to the small town.

While Kia's move to Georgia is particularly significant, it's hardly uncommon.

Hoping to tap into tax breaks and regional pride, foreign auto manufacturers have increasingly begun moving their operations to the U.S., which tracks the degree to which cars are manufactured in the U.S., reports that only five of the top ten American-made cars are produced by Detroit's big three automakers. The rest, including the no. 1-ranked Toyota Camry, are Japanese-owned.

With foreign manufacturers increasingly creating American jobs -- and domestic carmakers like Chrysler getting bailed out by foreign manufacturers -- it's become almost impossible to draw a conclusive line between American and Japanese cars. It looks like toughest competitors of the American car industry may well be its ultimate saviors.


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