Ala's Hyundai plant still going strong 8 years later

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Just three days ago Hyundai supplier Saehaesung Alabama, Inc., broke ground for an expansion.

"A $20 million project, 150 new jobs," said Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson.

Three weeks ago SMART in Crenshaw County did the same thing. It expanded months ago with new up-to-date robots but didn't add any jobs, although that could come down the road.

Continued growth for Hyundai as a whole. The company says its overall sales in America jumped 14% in February compared to a year ago. No surprise to Alabama's economic development director Neal Wade.

"We've met the management team at Hyundai and they're an excellent company. We are still seeing the ripple effects," said Wade.

Wade came into office on the tail end of negotiations with Hyundai 8 years ago. The state offered more than $250 million in incentives, similar to Mercedes in Vance, Alabama.

Wade says it's too early to know if the state has gotten a full return on its investment but he believes there's little doubt it will happen.

Suppliers are spending millions on upgrades and expanding and Hyundai Manufacturing in Montgomery and its suppliers employ 13,000 people in central and south Alabama. Hyundai produced its one-millionth vehicle last November.

"Those small communities are enjoying the benefits of Hyundai," said Wade.

That's a good thing and encouraging because Alabama's jobless rate is just a little more than 11%.

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