Kia Motors has delivered its one millionth vehicle to the US through the West Coast port of Tacoma, Washington state. The 2011 Optima Hybrid rolled off a K-Line vessel at the port's Blair Terminal earlier this month. It was manufactured at the carmaker’s Hwasung plant in South Korea.
The vehicle was processed at Tacoma by Auto Warehousing Company (AWC), which has handled Kia throughput at the port since 1995. Auto Warehousing is one of the largest vehicle processing companies in North America and handles 3m vehicles a year.
"We congratulate Kia Motors on reaching this milestone at our port," said Connie Bacon, commission president, port of Tacoma. "Over the years, the Kia business in Tacoma has meant thousands of longshore hours for our International Longshore Workers Union Local 23 workers who drive the vehicles off the ships, and hundreds of jobs at AWC and throughout our community. We look forward to continuing this long-standing relationship with Kia Motors," she said.
The Optima Hybrid is Kia's first-ever hybrid vehicle in the US market and was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2010.
"This tremendous milestone demonstrates the strength of a long-standing partnership between Kia Motors America and the port of Tacoma," said Tom Loveless, vice president of sales, Kia Motors America (KMA). "Kia's commitment to the US market is reflected in our growth and long list of critically acclaimed products, including the all-new Optima Hybrid that is now arriving in dealer showrooms."
Kia Motors’s market share in North America has grown each year since the company entered the US in 1994, and last year the company passed the 350,000 unit sales mark for the first time.  It will start making the Optima hybrid model at its Georgia plant in the US from next month.
Last year the port of Tacoma processed nearly 121,000 vehicles, a year-to-date increase from 2010 of more than 26% as it climbs back toward its recent high in 2007 of more than 175, 000.