Kia Motors to assemble cars in Ethiopia

South Korean car company eyes East African market.

The South Korean Kia Motors Corp is to begin assembling cars in the town of Adama, south of Addis Ababa, after signing a deal with local car manufacturing and maintenance firm Belayab Motors PLC.

The first Kia cars will come off the Ethiopian production line in January 2017, with plans to produce several Kia models, including the Rio subcompact model and the Sportage sports utility car, to a total of 3,000 vehicles each year.

Belayab, which has expanded its plant recently with a $6.80 million investment, says the number of Kia cars produced each year could increase to 9,000.

Kia already has one African assembly plant in the Nigerian city of Lagos, but has plans to launch similar operations elsewhere on the continent, including in Algeria.