Kia Hopes Apparently Dimming

A report in the Jackson Clarion Ledger indicates Meridian's chance of landing a Kia manufacturing plant are growing dimmer and the company is instead looking east, to a site on the Alabama-Georgia border.

Reports have indicated that Kia does not think Meridian has a big enough workforce to support the plant, but this report indicates other issues may be weighing heavier for the Korean automaker.

In the story, Mike Randle, the publisher of Southern Business and Development, says there are two other major issues at work, the amount of incentives Mississippi is willing to pay, and the fact that Kia really wants to build in Pelahatchie instead of Meridian.

He said Mississippi is only willing to pay about $200 million in incentives to land Kia, but the company wants $250 million. State officials apparently think the site is not worth that much because it will not produce as many spin-off suppliers as Nissan did.

And there is an agreement in place with Nissan not to put another auto plant in Pelahatchie, so the Japanese automaker won't have to compete for a workforce.

The report does say Mississippi is not completely out of the picture. It indicates Meridian and Columbus are still in the mix and that tax incentives allowed now for the state after Hurricane Katrina might be able to give Kia the support it wants.

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