Hyundai considering second U.S. car plant

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Hyundai Motors is building and selling so many cars that its Montgomery, Alabama plant is having a tough time keeping up, not that it's a bad thing.

The $1 billion Montgomery plant, built in 2005, is working at full capacity and is still unable to stave off customer demands for the company's high-quality, though competitively priced cars.

It's a crisis most any company would love to have, and Hyundai is looking to the future to keep customer appetites, and sales, on the rise. How? If company executives are any clue, a new Hyundai auto plant is not out of the question.

Statements from company officials like CEO John Krafcik indicate the company is seriously looking at building another plant, though it's too early to tell when, where or if the plant will be built.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange told WSFA 12 News he hopes any expansion would include Montgomery.

"It would be huge for us. I don't know that it would be double what we got, but it would be a very significant employment base," Mayor Strange said.  "We have had some conversations with Hyundai about that additional capacity.  There has been no indication to believe it would be in Montgomery, Alabama, but we would be willing and able to help make that happen."

Krafcik was recently quoted by Automotive News at the Detroit Auto Show as saying a decision would probably be made this year, but that officials wanted to see how the company performs in 2011 before making that decision.

Hyundai builds the popular Sonata sedan and Elantra at its Montgomery plant while production of the Santa Fe SUV was recently moved to the Kia facility in West Point, Georgia.

The company boasted sales of 538,228 units in 2010, with the Montgomery plant credited for building around 300,000 of those vehicles.

Total sales were up 25 percent over 2009 figures, and company officials are looking to top 600,000 units in 2011.

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