Kia May Build Next Forte in U.S. on Strengthening Won, Korean Labor Tensions

2012 has been a bit of a mixed bag for automakers, with strong and growing sales for many brands in the U.S. and some emerging markets like China and Brazil, but with slow sales in Europe. Although Hyundai and Kia have had plenty of positive news this year, the companies have not been completely without troubles. Strikes in South Korea resulted in a reduction in output of more than 60,000 units, and a drop in third-quarter production capacity of 9.2 percent for Kia, which sources 62 percent of its global output from its factories in South Korea, according to Bloomberg. In an earnings conference call, an unnamed Kia executive said the next-generation Forte compact could be built in the U.S., Reuters reports.

The Reuters report mentioned that on the company’s earnings conference call, an un-named executive with the company said the next-generation Forte compact could be manufactured in the U.S. In contrast to the adversarial relationship between labor and corporate management in Korea, which resulted in a concession of higher wages for workers, and the cancellation of overnight shifts, Hyundai and Kia’s U.S. manufacturing operations have so far resisted organization attempts by the United Auto Workers, and have added third shifts to keep up with high demand for their products in the U.S. market.

Source: Bloomberg, Reuters