"Today is truly a fantastic landmark in Kia's development as a major automotive company," commented Jean-Charles Lievens, Senior Vice President of Kia Motors Europe, speaking at the Zilina event. "The introduction of Kia cee'd will facilitate a qualitative revolution for the Kia brand. The highest standards of engineering, plus European-style aesthetics and perceived quality have been applied to every aspect of the first-ever Kia designed and manufactured in Europe. We know the Kia cee'd will be our best-ever challenger for C-segment honours."
After the official 'send-off', Kia Motors Slovakia (KMS) employees and component suppliers responsible for cee'd production took part in a 'quality pledge ceremony' and promised to build the best quality vehicles in the world by following the KMS Quality Charter. From October 2005 to July 2006, more than 600 KMS employees completed intensive training in Korea to ensure the quality of the cee'd.
Created especially for European consumers, the Kia cee'd marks a major turning point in Kia's history. An all-new C-segment car, the 20-model range of cee'd five-door hatchbacks will power Kia into Europe's most closely fought market sector, offering customers a unique range of benefits in a stylish package.
Representing an investment by Kia of €1 billion, the facility at Zilina will establish new benchmarks for vehicle quality and productivity – manufacturing 100 cars per employee per year when fully operational. And it will set new standards for environmental protection. The establishment of this plant is creating 10,000 jobs in the region and Zilina will have an ultimate capacity of 300,000 units annually, including 12,500 cee'd cars each month.
Thanks to some of the world's most advanced manufacturing techniques, the Zilina plant will ensure that cee'd is a durable high-quality product and Kia will demonstrate its confidence by giving every cee'd a revolutionary 7-year / 150,000 kilometer warranty.
The Kia 7-year warranty is not a gimmick, but a long-term corporate commitment to customer care. It will be free and transferable to subsequent owners – provided the car is correctly maintained. The Kia warranty is the 'best' new vehicle warranty ever offered by any car manufacturer in Europe, with five-years cover of the entire car and an additional two years cover on the powertrain. It is the clearest corporate statement of Kia's confidence in the quality, durability and reliability of Kia products made in Europe.
All across Europe, the Kia cee'd range will offer customers maximum choice – three gasoline engines and two diesels – with power outputs from 90 to 143 ps, three equipment levels (LX, EX and TX), four interior concepts, five centre-stack styles, seven different trim fabrics and 12 exterior colors.
By the end of next year there will also be three body styles to choose from. Production of the cee'd five-door 'sporty wagon' will begin in August and of the cee'd three-door 'sporty hatch' in December 2007.
During the next 12 months, the introduction of the cee'd family of models will be the most complete embodiment of Kia's three core brand values – quality, trustworthy, dynamic.