MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Hyundai Motor Co. plans to use its new assembly plant here to move up the price and profit scale in the U.S. market.
In addition to producing the next generations of the Sonata sedan and Santa Fe sport wagon, the $1 billion factory on the outskirts of Montgomery will build a new vehicle tailored to U.S. consumers.
"This reflects the brand moving upscale," Hyundai Motor America President Finbarr O'Neill said Tuesday, April 16, as the company held a groundbreaking event at the plant site. "Obviously, it shortens the pipeline for us. But it also provides us with a good base as we try to move into the Tier 1 of retail brands in the U.S. market."
The factory is being counted on to support an expansion of the Hyundai dealer network in the United States. O'Neill said Hyundai will expand its number of dealerships by 10 percent to 15 percent from the 576 it had on Jan. 1, now that vehicle supply will be more plentiful.
Hyundai also is considering the Alabama factory as a possible springboard to launch exports into markets such as Latin America. Officials said Montgomery's proximity to the port of Mobile, 150 miles to the southwest, was a factor in selecting the 1,600-acre site.