By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The jewel of the Alabama River Region’s economic development crown is getting bigger.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama announced Wednesday it will expand its Montgomery facility with a $410 million new assembly line that will create 200 jobs. The new line will build the Santa Cruz, a pick-up style sport utility vehicle aimed to be popular with younger drivers.
Company and state officials made the announcement at the State Capitol on Wednesday.
“Alabama and Hyundai have developed a great partnership over the years, and it’s a testament to our special relationship that this world-class automaker is expanding once again in Montgomery,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “Hyundai’s new investment is giving more Alabama families an opportunity to earn a good living while also strengthening the state’s growing auto industry.”
Hyundai currently produces the Santa Fe sport utility vehicle and the Sonata and Elantra sedans in Montgomery, employing more than 3,000 workers. The company said it will add 200 jobs, and suppliers and support companies are expected to employ an additional 1,000 people in the area.
“Bringing the Santa Cruz to HMMA demonstrates that Hyundai Motor Company is confident our more than 3,000 team members are ready to build a quality crossover for the U.S. market,” said Byungjin Jin, HMMA’s president and CEO.
The announcement comes just one day after newly-elected Mayor Steven Reed took office as the Capital City’s first African-American mayor. Reed said he recently visited Seoul, Korea with an economic development delegation and spoke of continuing the 18-year relationship between Montgomery and Hyundai.
“I recently had the honor of experiencing first-hand the long-standing partnership between Hyundai and Montgomery on a visit to Seoul as part of an economic development delegation including former Mayor Todd Strange,” Reed said. “With the addition of the Santa Cruz, Hyundai is again choosing to launch a new vision. I look forward to continuing to strengthen this vital relationship in the coming years and working with our partners to support this tremendous investment.”
The addition of the Santa Cruz will provide HMMA, which began production in 2005, with greater flexibility to adjust product mix based on market demands, the company said.
Alabama, with more than 40,000 automotive manufacturing jobs, ranks fifth nationally in car and truck production, producing nearly 1 million vehicles in 2018, according to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.