A new Kia dealership under construction in Evans will operate separately from its Gordon Highway brand counterpart.
Dublin Construction, based in Dublin, Ga., started site work last week on the project spanning three acres at 4580 Washington Road at Gibbs Road.
The 23,000-square-foot facility is expected to be complete in a year, said Lyle Stursma, regional sales manager for Kia Motors America’s southern region.
The full-scale dealership will sell new and used cars and will include a service and parts departments. The store’s exterior facade will be designed in brick, aluminum composite panels and storefront glass, Stursma said.
The combined land acquisition and building project is expected to total more than $3 million, Stursma said, and about 33 employees are expected to be hired when the dealership opens.
Traffic and shopping patterns, available property with the proper zoning and land cost all made the corner of Washington and Gibbs roads a desirable spot, he said.
Sales of Kia products in the Augusta area justified adding a second location, he added.
The two dealerships are about 12 miles apart.
Columbia also has two competing Kia dealerships. There are more than half a dozen Kia locations in the Atlanta suburbs and just one Kia store in Savannah.
In the Augusta market, the move is unprecedented by an auto company other than Ford or Chevrolet, said Wayne Cooper, general sales manager of Kia of Augusta at 1770 Gordon Highway.
Most auto companies don’t generate the business to warrant locating competing stores within the same area, said Cooper, who has 40 years experience in the auto industry in Augusta.
While local car dealers like Nissan and Toyota have dual stores, both are separated by the Savannah River and in different states.
Though the Augusta Kia staff initially fought the move “tooth and nail,” Cooper said, he now doesn’t believe the new Evans location will affect his business.
Customers living in the Evans area and in the market for a vehicle either don’t often purchase the Kia product or don’t shop on Gordon Highway, he said.
Auto dealerships on Washington Road likely would feel the competition more than the Augusta Kia store, Cooper said.
“In the long run, I don’t think it’ll hurt us,” he said.