Hyundai plant making room for more engine parts

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There's a lot of work going on inside Hyundai's engine shop at the Montgomery plant and a lot of work going on outside of the facility where crews are constructing 14,000 square feet of warehouse space.

The catalyst behind the expansion is a redesign of the four-cylinder Theta engines which requires additional parts in the assembly process and more room to store them.

"It's really important that we have this capacity because we do build over 700,000 engines a year at this facility for the Sonatas and for the KIA Optima in West Point, GA. We do have a significant number of engines that we're building for both of those sedans and it really allows us to be even more efficient with the movement of these parts for the engines that we assemble day in and day out," said Robert Burns, Senior Manager of Public Relations for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.

The $800,000 project is sending a message to workers about job security.

"It's wonderful news with job stability. And it lets us know that with us expanding, that business is going good so that's great news. It means more job promotions and more job possibilities for a lot of workers in here who want to move up," said Gwendolyn Gladney, a final inspection operator.

The auto maker is coming off a record year for sales in 2013. And the Montgomery-made Sonatas and Elantras are the top two sellers in North America. Last year, the company announced it was adding a third production shift and hired more than 800 employees to meet the demand.

"They're just now beginning to enjoy the full efforts of that third shift. They hired 800 plus people. Last year, they produced 400,000 units and from that perspective that does give them more units into the market place," said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange.

The warehouse expansion project is expected to be complete by late spring/early summer.

Hyundai officials say the company is projecting that 390,000 cars will be assembled at the Montgomery plant in 2014.

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