America is getting its first look at the car that Montgomery built. The 2006 Hyundai Sonata was unveiled this week at the Detroit Auto Show. It's a test vehicle, assembled at the new Hyundai plant in Montgomery.
The car was lowered onto the stage in dramatic fashion as journalists from around the world looked on.
"Straight from our brand new assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama, the all new 2006 Hyundai Sonata!" said the announcer. The company also released a promotional video of the Sonata in action.
It was several months ago, when WSFA 12 News broadcast a sneak peak of the new model, after a trip to Hyundai's Korean headquarters. But this was the first look for the rest of the country.
"I think if you look at the excitement here today, that it's evident that Hyundai is a major player out there today," said Governor Bob Riley, who was in Detroit for the unveiling.
Riley told reporters that the plant in Montgomery, with its more than 2,000 jobs, is an economic boon for the state. "As we transitioned out of the textile industry, we lost a lot of jobs to China," Riley said. "For this to come in now and fill up the job markets in smaller towns has been great for Alabama."
Back in Montgomery, work is already underway at the plant, with test cars being assembled. The testing phase is expected go on for at least another month. The first car that will be actually be sold to the public will roll off the assembly in March.
A gala grand opening ceremony is then scheduled for this may at the plant, which is located on Hyundai Boulevard off Highway 331 in south Montgomery.