Editor's note: The headline on an earlier version of this story misidentified the vehicle shifted to the Kia plant.
LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai boosted output of its hot-selling 2011 Sonata sedan in August with capacity created by the planned production transfer of the Santa Fe crossover to Kia's plant in Georgia.
Last month Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama built 24,111 Sonata sedans, up from 13,395 in July, said Robert Burns, a Hyundai Motor Manufacturing spokesman. The increase was made possible in part by the wind-down of Santa Fe production in Alabama. Only 31 Santa Fe models were built there in August -- one for the United States and 30 for Canada, Burns said.
Full production of the Santa Fe in West Point, where corporate cousin Kia builds its Sorento crossover on the same platform as the Santa Fe, is scheduled to begin in October. But Hyundai has already begun to fill excess capacity created by the Santa Fe transfer, Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor said.
Part of the 80 percent jump in Sonata output in August from the previous month also stemmed from the traditional summer shutdown, which idled the Montgomery factory the week of July 5.
U.S. Sonata sales totaled 21,399 in August, up 81 percent from a year earlier.
Automotive News reported the plans to move Santa Fe production to Kia's plant in Georgia on Aug. 23.
Hyundai had been striving to keep dealers stocked with the Sonata without importing cars from South Korea. U.S. sales of the Sonata have soared 50 percent through August compared with a year earlier.
The Alabama plant is running two shifts five days a week and one Saturday shift every other week to keep pace with demand for the Sonata, the brand's best-selling U.S. vehicle, Burns said.
The move also demonstrates the manufacturing flexibility the companies gain through their corporate partnerships. Hyundai Motor Co. owns 35 percent of Kia Motors Corp.
Limited production of the 2011 Santa Fe will begin Sept. 27, before the second shift is activated in West Point. Additional workers have been hired at Kia's plant, bringing total employment there to about 1,900, the company has said.