The Korea Herald


Kia vows $200m to produce EV9 at Georgia plant

With production set to start Q2 2024, carmaker looks to receive IRA tax incentives

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : July 13, 2023 - 15:00

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The Kia EV9 (Hyundai Motor Group) The Kia EV9 (Hyundai Motor Group)

Kia will invest over $200 million to manufacture the company’s latest all-electric three-row sport utility vehicle EV9 from its plant in the US state of Georgia, the South Korean automaker’s American office announced Wednesday local time.

The company’s Georgia West Point assembly plant will be able to produce the EV9 in the second quarter of 2024, Kia said. The three-row EV SUV will be Kia’s first EV to be manufactured in North America. The West Point site currently produces the Telluride, Sorento and Sportage SUVs and the K5 midsize sedan with an annual production capacity of about 340,000 units.

“Like Telluride, EV9 has the potential to be another 'game changer' for Kia,” said Sean Yoon, president and CEO of Kia North America and Kia America, in a statement.

“This will be the most sophisticated vehicle that we have ever built and will be a standout in the EV market and on the road."

The production upgrade at the Georgia plant will create nearly 200 new jobs in the region, the company said.

"Georgia’s longstanding partnership with Kia has led to generational job creation and growth for the West Point area," said Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia.

"This project will both bring more opportunity to hardworking Georgians and help propel the state toward our goal of becoming the e-mobility capital.”

Kia has invested more than $1.9 billion in the state and Kia Georgia is responsible for more than 14,000 plant and supplier jobs in the region, according to the office of the Georgia governor. To commemorate the Korean company’s positive impact on the local community, Kemp and state lawmakers earlier this year decided to recognize Jan. 31 as “Kia Day.”

Kia is expected to receive tax incentives of up to $7,500 per vehicle for the EV9 lineup under the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act.

The IRA is aimed at bolstering domestic production in the US by making tax incentives for EV purchases available only if a car’s components such as the body, battery and key raw materials are made in North America. Korea’s top automakers -- Hyundai Motor and its sister firm Kia -- have not been able to receive the benefits of the IRA.

Instead, Hyundai Motor and Kia have so far resorted to increasing the number of EV leases that can receive EV consumer tax credits under the IRA guidance to keep their EV sales afloat.

On top of the West Point plant, the Korean auto giant is currently building a $5.5 billion plant in Ellabell, Georgia, as it looks to speed up the transformation into expanding EV businesses in the US.

Dubbed Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America, the site will include the production of EVs from Hyundai Motor, Genesis and Kia as well as battery manufacturing facilities. After the groundbreaking ceremony in October last year, HMGMA's commercial production is expected to begin in the first half of 2025 with an annual capacity of 300,000 units.

In April this year, Hyundai Motor Group laid out the goal of becoming a top three EV manufacturer in the world by 2030 with the global EV production volume at 3.64 million units annually. The conglomerate said its three auto brands -- Hyundai Motor, Kia and Genesis -- will have 31 EVs in their product lineup by 2030.