Kia plans to build new plant in South Korea for purpose-built vehicles
2. June 2022
After 25 years, South Korea’s second-largest automaker Kia plans to build a new plant to produce purpose-built vehicles, or PBVs. In doing so, the company aims to become the market leader in this emerging vehicle category by 2030. A PBV is an autonomous driving platform that can be equipped with different bodies and coachwork depending on customer preferences, according to Hyundai Motor Group, which owns Kia. Recently, Kia presented union members with plans to build a new plant where future models of PBVs and pickup trucks, among others, will roll off the assembly line. The last time Kia built a new production facility was in 1997, which was 25 years ago. It was an addition to the production line at the Hwaseong plant, about 80 kilometers south of Seoul. Production equipment and components for projects like these usually require KC certification
, or specifically KC certification for electronic products
, in order to be approved and distributed in Korea.
Kia and its larger parent company Hyundai Motor Group have not expanded their production capacity in South Korea since 2000 because the domestic market is already saturated. Instead, they have focused on exporting vehicles. Kia’s decision to build a new plant for PBVs in South Korea was made because of the existing research and development center there. It is assumed that the company will invest several billion US dollars for the plant. However, an exact figure has not yet been given. Construction of the plant is scheduled to be completed in December 2024. Series production of the first Kia PBV is then scheduled for July 2025. This PBV has Level 4 self-driving features, an interior height of 1.8 meters, a mileage of 600,000 kilometers and automatic OTA updates. Initially, the PBV will be used to deliver goods. At a later date, there will also be a version as a robo-taxi as well as a larger vehicle for use in bus transport. Kia expects the global PBV market to grow to 20 million vehicles by 2030. That would correspond to around one third of all new vehicles sold.
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