SAP AG of Europe will be the primary information technology provider for Hyundai Motor Co.'s first U.S. assembly plant.
Though neither company would say what the deal is worth, the contract is a major win for SAP, one of the world's largest software companies. SAP software is widely used by major North American Tier 1 suppliers and European automakers. Hyundai's Alabama operation will be the first U.S. assembly plant to use SAP software for all operations.
The $1 billion factory, which is being built near Montgomery, Ala., will produce as many as 300,000 vehicles a year starting in 2005.
Kerstin Geiger, SAP's vice president of automotive, said the software will streamline the plant's human resources, financial affairs, supply chain and logistics, among other things.
SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, had 2002 sales of about $8 billion.
BearingPoint Inc., a consulting firm in McLean, Va., will help with the installation. Neither it nor SAP would say how many authorized users there are, though Geiger did say it would be in the thousands.
BearingPoint Inc said it is being paid $8.5 million for its services.
Hyundai - with U.S. sales of just 90,217 units as recently as 1998 - has been on a sales tear since the introduction of a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty and hot products like the Sante Fe SUV. Hyundai's U.S. sales last year topped 375,000 units.
The Alabama plant is an important link toward future growth. Last year, Hyundai Motor America CEO Finbarr O'Neill set a corporate goal for sales of 1 million vehicles a year by 2010.