Automotive industry expansion projects by two South Korea-based companies will bring more than $400 million in investments to Alabama.
In Montgomery, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) will invest $290 million in assembly plant upgrades as the facility prepares to build the next-generation Santa Fe sport utility. As part of the project, HMMA will spend $190 million to retool and upgrade the plant’s production line for the fifth-generation Santa Fe SUV, while the additional investment will support production of other vehicles.
“Today, the legacy of the Santa Fe continues with HMMA investing $190 million dollars to prepare our assembly plant for the next generation of this popular SUV,” said HMMA President and CEO Ernie Kim said at the project announcement. “An additional $100 million dollars will be invested to support ongoing production of the Tucson SUV and Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle.”
HMMA first began assembling the Santa Fe in 2006, and this will be the first full model change since 2018. When assembly begins later this year, the all-new Santa Fe will join the Tucson, the Santa Cruz, and both the electrified and gas versions of the Genesis GV70 luxury SUV on HMMA’s assembly line.
“Hyundai’s nearly 4,000 Alabama employees have been making some of the highest awarded vehicles in America for nearly two decades, and the production of the completely re-designed Santa Fe mid-size SUV is another exciting milestone for the company’s Montgomery manufacturing facility,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “I can’t wait to see the exciting new design on roads in Alabama and across the nation.”
Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed called HMMA a “vital economic engine” for the city and the state.
“From building world-class products to creating jobs and opportunity here in Montgomery, HMMA is a catalyst for the continued growth and development of our region,” Reed said. “This latest expansion is a milestone in our partnership, and we are grateful for their continued success in Montgomery.”
This is the latest in a series of investment projects HMMA has launched at the Alabama plant in recent years, including a $300 million project announced last year to prepare for the production of its first electric vehicles (EV).
“Hyundai continues to show a strong commitment to Montgomery, where it has built high-quality vehicles since 2005, and to its Alabama workforce, which has been there every step of the way,” said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “This new investment will allow HMMA to bring a redesigned Santa Fe SUV to the market while also powering the automaker’s drive for future growth in the U.S.”
HMMA’s total investment in its Alabama plant will reach $3.3 billion when the new project is complete, according to Montgomery Chamber Chairman LaBarron Boone.
Shinhwa Plans $114M Alabama Expansion
In Auburn, Shinhwa Auto USA Corp. plans to invest $114 million to expand its manufacturing operation to support the production of EV parts. The growth project will create 50 jobs over the next three years, and add a new 170,000-square-foot production building on Shinhwa’s campus in Auburn Technology Park West.
The expansion will be Shinhwa’s third since selecting the Alabama city as the site of its first U.S. plant in 2019.
“Shinhwa’s constant growth in Auburn demonstrates Alabama, through high levels of innovation and technical prowess, is preparing for an evolving future,” said Gov. Ivey. “It’s a testament to the Auburn area’s workforce that this world-class company has once again decided to launch growth plans there.”
Shinhwa produces aluminum die casted parts for automotive manufacturers. After the Auburn facility opened in 2020 following a $42 million investment, it began manufacturing drive shafts for HMMA in Montgomery and the Kia plant in West Point, GA. The company has since announced two expansion projects in Auburn, adding 90 jobs and an additional investment of $148 million to expand output of aluminum parts and meet future demands stemming from EV production.
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“We are thrilled to be expanding our business yet again, building new state-of-the-art facilities in Auburn, Alabama, where Shinhwa has a successful business operation since 2019,” said Kwi Hyun Lee, chairman of Shinhwa Group. “As one of the most innovative industrial manufacturers of aluminum car components, we are confident that the momentum we have achieved will continue to meet customers’ growing demand for high-quality products.”
With this new investment project, Shinhwa plans to increase capacity by expanding die casting operations and adding associated processes that are required to make control arm, knuckle, carrier and motor housing covers in support of Hyundai, Kia and other automakers in the U.S. The project will support a new contract for EV parts.
“Alabama’s auto sector is experiencing a major growth spurt as the industry accelerates the transition toward an electric future,” said Canfield. “We look forward to working with Shinhwa to advance its expansion plans and fully develop the growth potential of its Auburn manufacturing operation.”