Dignitaries from the state of Georgia and Kia Motors Corp. will gather Oct. 20 for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the auto maker’s first U.S. plant.

The ceremony, originally set for April, had been delayed when Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. Chairman Chung Mong Koo was arrested for his alleged role in creating a slush fund to bribe government officials.

Chung was released on bail June 27, but has been slow to resume his duties at the company as he has been in ill health.

A Kia spokesman in Seoul tells Reuters it is not certain if Chung will attend the ceremony.

As ground already was broken for the $1.2 billion plant in the former textile city of West Point, GA, the ceremony is an opportunity for officials from the state and Kia to formally gather.

“That’s just a ceremony everyone’s been waiting for us to have,” a Kia Motors America spokesman tells Ward’s. “But they’ve been digging.”

He goes on to say the auto maker is not yet ready to announce which models will be built at the plant, set to open in 2009.

Kia’s U.S. sales are up 2.7% this year to 198,120 units, according to Ward’s data. The auto maker has a goal to sell 300,000 vehicles in the U.S. this year.