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Hyundai Motor Group to Build $5.5B Electric Vehicle Plant Near Savannah, Ga.

Wed June 01, 2022 - Southeast Edition
Associated Press


Hyundai Motor Group has entered into an agreement with the state of Georgia to build its first dedicated full electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facilities in the United States. Seated are Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp (L) and Hyundai Motor Company President and CEO Jaehoon Chang. (Hyundai photo)
Hyundai Motor Group has entered into an agreement with the state of Georgia to build its first dedicated full electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facilities in the United States. Seated are Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp (L) and Hyundai Motor Company President and CEO Jaehoon Chang. (Hyundai photo)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called the deal his state made recently with Hyundai Motor Group as the largest economic development project in the Peach State's history.

At a groundbreaking ceremony May 20, the South Korean manufacturer revealed that its plans to construct a massive $5.5 billion electric vehicle (EV) plant near Savannah — one that will employ thousands of people.

Hyundai Motor Group CEO Jaehoon Chang made the announcement with Kemp at the site of the future factory in Bryan County, where state and local officials bought a flat, sprawling tract for $61 million last year in hopes of luring a major manufacturer.

"Hard-working Georgians are going to have the opportunity to have a really high-paying, advanced manufacturing job with a great company," Kemp said in an interview with the AP.

Hyundai plans to employ at least 8,100 workers at the facility near the unincorporated town of Ellabell west of Savannah. It will be Hyundai's first U.S. plant dedicated to assembling electric vehicles and is slated to also produce vehicle batteries.

"This new, high tech EV plant represents the future of our business," Chang told more than 100 people gathered under a tent pitched at the site on a dusty field of cleared dirt.

Hyundai Motors said it plans to start construction early next year, and by 2025, it should begin producing up to 300,000 vehicles per year. The company did not reveal which vehicle models the Georgia plant will make, the AP reported.

In a video shown at the groundbreaking, Hyundai Motors Chairman Euisun Chung said it will produce "a wide range of exciting, innovative EVs for our American customers."

The company and Georgia officials said they expect suppliers to invest an additional $1 billion in the area.

"It's going to continue to bring wealth and opportunity to the region," noted Kemp, who predicted a ripple effect that will boost businesses from Savannah's already booming seaport to restaurants and convenience stores in the southeast Georgia region.

The announcement came at a time when President Joe Biden was visiting South Korea. The AP reported that while on the trip, he met with Hyundai's CEO in Seoul to thank him for his significant investment in the United States.

With Hyundai, Georgia Gets Its Second EV Factory

Hyundai's new facility is the second huge electric vehicle plant announced in Georgia in less than a year. Rivian Automotive announced its plans last December for a $5 billion electric truck factory east of Atlanta that is expected to employ about 7,500 workers.

Kemp declined to discuss with reporters the details of what incentives and tax breaks the company was offered for locating in Georgia, but, according to the AP, Rivian received a package worth $1.5 billion.

The state and its partner local governments bought 2,200 acres in Bryan County a year ago to lure a large manufacturer — a tract of land that ended up not being large enough for Hyundai. So, Georgia and its partners purchased two more neighboring tracts to expand the site to more than 2,900 acres.

That equates to more than 4.5 sq. mi. dedicated to the Hyundai project.

Officials declined to reveal the sale price of the extra acreage, telling the AP the property was under contract, but the deal had not yet been finalized.

Factory to Be Built Near Important Hubs

The Bryan County plant site sits adjacent to Interstate 16, a link between Savannah and Macon, not far from its intersection with I-95, a route that spans the Eastern Seaboard. It is also near to the Port of Savannah, the fourth-busiest seaport in the country.

Kemp predicted the Hyundai plant will become one of the biggest customers for Savannah's port, which has already seen immense growth in recent years.

Hyundai Motor Group sells cars under the Hyundai and Kia brands. The automaker already operates two American assembly plants in Montgomery, Ala., and in West Point, Ga.

According to Kemp, incentives help Georgia compete for big projects with states such as South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. At the groundbreaking, he pointed to the Kia plant in West Point as one that filled a void when the local textile industry shut down years earlier.

"You've seen downtowns that used to be ghost towns, [and] they're vibrant communities now," he explained, adding, "These are investments that we'll be reaping the benefits [from] 20 to 30 years down the road."




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