Having grown up from scratch in the foothills of the Big and Small Tatras, the new KIA plant is one of two industrial enterprises in the okrug. By the time of the conclusion of the agreement with the Koreans in 2004, about 700 thousand people lived in Zilina and the suburbs, 15% of whom were unemployed. Now almost 3 thousand are working at KIA, and there will be more when the enterprise reaches its design 300 thousand machines a year and a third shift is needed. To the currently produced models - the Sidu with three body styles and the Sportage crossover - the ix35 all-terrain vehicle will be added, replacing the Tussan. Last year, 201 thousand cars were assembled (while this is a record), of which 18% were sent to the Russian Federation through the Kaliningrad assembly. Russia is the largest market for the enterprise.
KIABetween the conveyors are extensive recreation areas for workers. They even have computers with Internet access. Between the conveyors are extensive recreation areas for workers. They even have computers with Internet access.
EAST AND WEST
Against the background of the calmness of the mountains hanging over the valley and the sweetly relaxing neglect of the surrounding villages, the KIA plant seems to be an island of developed civilization transferred from Korea. Who doesn’t know that Koreans are deep-seated pragmatists? However, having bought for a favorable geographical position of the enterprise is almost the center of Europe! - And cheap Slovak labor, did not save on national traditions. Starting from cleanliness (the floor is torn so that the bodies of cars floating on the conveyor are reflected in it) and ending with addiction to motley - the overalls of workers of different sections vary in color. The beginning of the shift, like at a defense plant in wartime: people almost run to jobs. I have not seen such discipline and zeal even in Japanese enterprises. More than a hundred surveillance cameras allow you to track all operations, determine the weak link in seconds.
KIAKorean Mission Control Center. Under close video surveillance, all the most important production sites are delivered. Korean Mission Control Center. Under close video surveillance, all the most important production sites are delivered.
Stamping, welding, painting are automated even at a higher level than at Korean enterprises, so the leaders of the plant in илиilina have the right to argue that there is less marriage in Slovak machines than in equipment manufactured in the East. People outside the work posts are almost invisible, movement is only in the stamping workshop, but these are not loafers, but those who control the geometry of the parts sent. They have enough worries, because in Slovakia they produce only 16 body elements (a potential of six dozen), the rest comes from Korea. But the operators of the local stamping machines only need ten minutes to replace the die and begin to manufacture another part. (In passing, I note that the workshop is unusually quiet - the noise level does not exceed 87 dB.) The stock of products is stored in an automated warehouse, the capacity of which is designed for a maximum of one and a half days of operation of the plant. Up to eight body types can be produced on one welding branch (so far only four are being manufactured). The quality control of everyone is first trusted by laser sensors, but the final good is still given by people who carefully felt every detail.
KIAThis is not a photo montage: the floor is torn to a mirror shine! This is not a photo montage: the floor is torn to a mirror shine!
There are about 500 people on the assembly line as part of each shift. Robots perform the most demanding and difficult operations, say, installing a dashboard or gluing windows. The engine, transmission and chassis are fed on automated platforms in a single unit. Its preliminary assembly is carried out by a subcontractor - the Mobis company, which is located next to the motor plant. To “marry” a body with a chassis and a power unit, it is enough to tighten a few nuts. I must say that KIA is proud to collect engines in Slovakia. And rightly so. In addition to the Koreans, assembly plants in the country deployed Volkswagen and Peugeot, but they did not dare to organize the assembly of such complex units. And Koreans not only manufacture two types of gasoline (1.4 and 1.6 l) and diesel (1.6 and 2 l) engines for their own needs, they are also ready to supply engines to the Hyundai plant in neighboring Czech Republic .
KIAOne of the brightest signs of the Korean mentality: a memorial stone by a tree planted by the president of the Hyundai-KIA concern. One of the brightest signs of the Korean mentality: a memorial stone by a tree planted by the president of the Hyundai-KIA concern.
It's a shame, annoying
In all workshops, after every ten or two meters, calls to improve quality. It became even inconvenient for me to ask a question about Sporting, which participated in our speed tests (ЗР, 2009, No. 10). Let me remind you that the car, it turned out, the wheel alignment was incorrectly adjusted, so he mercilessly abraded the tires.
KIACalls to improve quality at almost every step. Calls to improve quality at almost every step.
Most likely, this is not the fault of the Slovaks. They showed me a stand on which each car goes through wheel alignment. Before sending to the dealer - a mandatory test run on a three-kilometer track. Probably a nuisance with our car happened already in Russia: we hope to tell you the details in the next issues. For Koreans, even a special case, if not a knife in the heart, then an open call. They promised me that they would investigate the annoying incident with all scrupulousness. I have no doubt in the seriousness of the mood of the Koreans: they have something to lose - the honor of the brand.
KIARunning on the test track is a must for all released cars. Running on the test track is a must for all released cars.
DO NOT OUR CASE
The hosts offered to try out any of the Sporting’s production options, and I chose the top version with a 175-horsepower gasoline V6. For those reasons that journalists have not tested it yet, and the Russian KIA representative office is considering the possibility of delivering a crossover to our country.
The long run was coming - one and a half thousand kilometers from Zilina to German Frankfurt, where just in those days an international motor show opened. A variety of roads lay under the wheels of Sporting, from narrow Slovak highways to German highways. We visited Prague, Dresden, Magdeburg, drove into small villages and even arranged a car for a small off-road experience on a motocross track.
The engine was not impressive. In acceleration, the car, of course, is better than the one with a 2-liter gasoline engine and the same 4-speed automatic. When compared with the 2-liter version with a manual, the difference in dynamics is tenths of a second. But the machine does not like to change gears, especially at times when the driver wants it. It takes so long to wait for his reaction that a medium-sized treatise on the mortality of earthly existence can be compiled. And the 6-cylinder engine is not chasing records. He goes to maximum speed with a laziness, not showing a single gram of temperament, and in terms of torque the 175-horsepower V6 loses even to a 112-horsepower diesel engine from the Russian specification. The latter produces a maximum thrust already at 1800 rpm, and the “six” for this you need to twist up to 4000 revolutions. And gas mileage! Increased to 65 liters of fuel tank (for other "sports" - 58 liters) is barely enough for 400 km with a little. And this is if you go in the most economical mode. Moreover, the on-board computer always shows the average consumption of no higher than 12 l / 100 km, in reality, at least 15 l came out.