Kia Motors has announced the completion of construction on its first manufacturing plant in Latin America located in the municipality of Pesquería in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico.

With an initial investment of approximately US$3 billion into the project by Kia Motors and suppliers, the state-of-the-art Kia Motors Mexico plant was constructed in 13 months after breaking ground on the site in October 2014. Meanwhile, Kia Motors said it has commenced full-fledged retail sales operations in Mexico this past July and has opened 46 dealerships across the country in the last five months.

Intensive quality assurance testing and pilot production will be conducted over the next six months with mass production of the Forte (also known as Cerato in some markets) compact sedan scheduled to commence in mid-2016. The 300,000-unit annual capacity plant will represent approximately 10 percent of Kia Motors’ total global manufacturing output.

Located on a 500 hectare site, the plant is comprised of four main shops: stamping, body welding, paint and assembly. Kia’s Mexico plant joins the 10 other manufacturing facilities in Korea, China, Slovakia, Russia and the USA where Kia vehicles are assembled. 60% of output from the plant will be exported to North America while 20 percent will supply the Mexican domestic market, and the remaining 20 percent will be exported to neighboring countries in Latin America, according to the company.

Kia Motors said that together with its suppliers have hired around 4,000 Mexican employees, and over the longer term Kia’s presence in Mexico is expected to generate approximately 14,000 direct jobs and 56,000 indirect jobs.

The manufacturing complex features sophisticated production equipment such as a US$75 million stamping press that measures 18 meters high and weighs 3,862 tons, making it the largest of any Kia plant in the world, according to the company.