Where Are Kia Souls Made? (Solved & Explained)

The Kia Soul is a unique choice that falls into the sub-compact SUV segment.

Known for its boxy profile and snub nose design, the Soul boasts excellent fuel economy and an affordable price tag.

If you’re looking for a small, stylish SUV, than researching the Soul makes sense.

If you’re wondering where these iconic vehicles are made, read on to find out…

Where Are Kia Souls Being Made?

Kia Souls are made in South Korea, at Kia’s state-of-the-art Gwangju Plant. The Plant is located in Gwangju and is the only plant in the world currently producing the Kia Soul.

Earlier renditions of the Kia Soul were produced in multiple plants around the world. However, the Kia Soul is now exclusive to the Gwangju Plant.

Kia Souls manufactured in Gwangju are shipped globally and reach every major market, each model is tailored to meet local laws and regulations.

The Gwangju Plant:

  • Opened in 1998
  • Is 1,190,000m2 equivalent to 166 soccer fields
  • Has 8000 employees, which makes up 13% of Kia’s entire workforce
  • Produces 600,000 units annually

Are Kia Souls for the U.S. Market Produced in the U.S.?

Kia Souls for the U.S. market are not produced in the U.S. Kia maintains one assembly plant for the Kia Soul, which is in Gwangju, South Korea.

The complete line of the Kia Soul is shipped to the U.S. and is then distributed and sold by Kia Motors America (KMA).

KMA is a Kia-owned corporation which is based in Irvine, California.

KMA ships Kia models to over 750 Kia dealers across the United States.

  • Kia Soul models available in the U.S. market:
    • Soul LX
    • Soul S
    • Soul GT-Line
    • Soul X-Line
    • Soul EX
    • Soul Turbo

Are they Being Assembled in the U.S.?

Kia Souls are not assembled in the U.S. However, the iconic subcompact SUV was designed in the U.S., at Kia’s Irving, California design center.

How Can You Check Where a Specific Kia Soul Was Produced?

To determine the origin of a Kia Soul the first thing that you should do is determine the year in which the car was assembled.

  • Earlier models (2008-2013) were assembled in South Korea, China, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
  • Second Generation models (2013-2019) were manufactured in South Korea and Russia.
  • Later models were produced solely at Gwangju Plant, in South Korea.

To determine the origin of a pre-2020 Kia Soul, checking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is the simplest solution.

The first digit of the VIN shows the country of origin, and the eleventh digit shows the specific manufacturing plant that an automobile was produced in.

VIN Country Codes for:

  • South Korea = KL-KR
  • China = L
  • Russia = X3-X0
  • Kazakhstan = KS-K0

Alternatively, there are many online VIN locater tools available that can quickly produce all information coded within the VIN.

Simply input the VIN and allow the software to search online databases on your behalf.

Are Japanese or European Built Kia Souls Better?

There are no Kia plants located in Japan or Europe.

While Kia does maintain a vast global network of design centers and regional headquarters, the company leaves the Kia Soul’s manufacturing process to the Gwangju Plant, in South Korea.

Related: Best & Worst Years For The Kia Soul? (With Facts & Statistics)

Where is the Kia Soul Designed?

The Kia Soul was designed at Kia’s design center in Irvine, California.

Three years before the Kia Soul’s first production run, Kia’s Mike Torpey created the concept for the subcompact SUV after a trip to Kia headquarters in South Korea.

The design of the Soul is said to embody the strength and spirit of a wild boar, and the design was aimed squarely at a younger generation of drivers in urban settings.

Where Are Kia Souls Made for the Australia Market?

In the past, Kia Souls were made for and sold to the Australian market. Currently, however, the Kia Soul is not officially offered as a part of the Kia range at Kia Australia.

There are a number of other hatchback and small SUV options available, but buyers interested in purchasing a Kia Soul in Australia will have to buy an older model or a privately imported one.

Where Are Kia Souls Made for the Canada Market?

As with all other models, the Kia Soul for the Canada market is produced in South Korea, at the Gwangju Plant.

Canadian drivers have a healthy selection of Souls to choose from.

  • Kia Soul models available in the Canada market:
    • Soul EV Premium
    • Soul EV Limited
    • Soul LX
    • Soul EX
    • Soul EX+
    • Soul EX Premium
    • Soul GT-Line Limited

Where Are Kia Souls Made for the UK Market?

Kia manufactured for the UK market are produced in South Korea, at the Gwangju Plant.

There are limited models shipped for sales in the UK, and from 2020 only one model of the Kia Soul is available.

UK car buyers can drive the Soul EV (first edition) which is Kia’s zero emission electric Kia Soul offering.

The Soul EV travels an impressive 280 miles per charge and comes packed with cutting edge driver assistance tech to enhance both usability and safety.

Is Kia Planning to Move Its Production?

At the moment, it does not appear that production of the Kia Soul will be moved to any of Kia’s other plants.

There were however rumors that Soul production might be moved to the U.S. however this has not yet come to fruition.

Production was tipped to take place at the Kia manufacturing facility at West Point, Georgia, although at the time of writing this does not appear to be going ahead.

Is Kia Hiring or Firing in the U.S.?

Kia is hiring in the U.S. and there are many different options for employment within the various facilities, dealerships and hubs across the United States.

Opportunities range from the Kia Design Center in Irvine, California, the manufacturing plant in Georgia, and over 750 official Kia dealerships and sales points throughout the country.

Be sure to check out our post: kia Soul in Snow & Winter Driving

Is Kia an American Company?

Kia Motors America is an American company in that it is incorporated with the United States.

However, Kia maintains control over all its subsidiaries throughout the world, including those located in the U.S.

Kia is a South Korean company that is partially owned by Hyundai and operates on a global stage.





  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...