Kia Upgrades Powertrain Production in Zilina in Slovakia
Kia Motors Europe has completed a range of upgrades to its European vehicle and engine production plant in Zilina in Slovakia. The modifications are the result of a EUR 70 million investment made by Kia this year, gearing up the plant to produce the company’s new ‘Smartstream’ internal combustion and hybrid powertrains. The investment in Žilina allows the plant to produce and assemble new petrol engines in response to changing market demands. Kia will now build small-capacity, high-efficiency, hybrid-compatible petrol engines on three engine production lines, with the fourth dedicated to the brand’s latest ‘Smartstream’ 1.6-litre diesel engine. This is a proactive move by Kia towards hybridisation and electrification, in line with the wider European market trend.
The investment also enables the production of Kia’s latest ‘Smartstream’ powertrains, based on new 1.5-litre ‘Kappa’ and 1.6-litre ‘Gamma’ T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) engines. These new four-cylinder petrol engines will underpin the company’s hybridisation and emissions reduction strategies in Europe. Both new engines are designed to integrate with Kia’s ‘EcoDynamics+’ 48V mild-hybrid system. In addition, the ‘Gamma’ 1.6-litre T-GDi is designed to integrate with hybrid powertrain technologies as the brand explores a wider range of powertrain options for the future.
Kia’s investment in Zilina means the production facility is now a global leader in the production of hybrid powertrains. The assembly line for the new 1.5-litre T-GDi engine runs alongside a newly converted production line for the 1.6-litre T-GDi engine. Žilina is also home to production of Kia’s 1.6-litre ‘Smartstream’ diesel engine and 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrains, currently found in the Kia Ceed model family and Kia Sportage.
The new engines have been designed and engineered in-house at Kia’s global R&D headquarters in Namyang, Korea. Powertrain development teams have improved engine responses, combustion efficiency, and access to torque outputs across a wide range of the most commonly used engine speeds. Incorporating Kia’s hybrid powertrain technology was also key to the development of both engines.
These engines form part of Kia’s broader strategy to develop a wide range of propulsion technologies, including hybrid, electric and internal combustion powertrains, that meet the needs of a diverse range of drivers.