ELLABELL, Ga. — Hyundai Motor Group — solidly No. 2 in the U.S. electric vehicle market in the first quarter — will plow $5.5 billion into its first dedicated EV factory in the world in this Georgia town, the South Korean automaker said Friday. Suppliers will invest an additional $1 billion.
The plant, about 30 miles northwest of Savannah, Ga., is a cornerstone of Hyundai's long-term investment in electric vehicles, and would make it the first Asian automaker to commit a North American plant exclusively to EV output. All vehicles produced there will be sold in the U.S.
Along with the new plant, the automaker is planning to build a battery-manufacturing factory with a joint partner, the automaker's CEO told Automotive News. An announcement will come "shortly."
Hyundai Global COO José Muñoz, who is also the head of the automaker's North American operations, confirmed that up to six models will be built there by 2028, and that the factory will build a mix of models. A supply chain industry source who asked not to be identified earlier told Automotive News that the factory is expected to launch with the Hyundai Ioniq 7 in 2025. The source said that the production of a Kia EV pickup could begin in the first half of 2026, followed by a Hyundai brand compact EV pickup in the second half. Genesis EV output is also planned.
This new factory represents "the future of our business," Hyundai Motor Co. CEO Jaehoon Chang told an audience gathered here. "You will help us to meet growing demands of our U.S. customers."
"The transition into the U.S. market will be much faster than we have predicted before. So we're going to be on the front," Chang said in an interview following the announcement. "That's why we're trying to do something faster than anybody else."
The Hyundai group — maker of the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands — has pledged $16 billion globally through 2030 for EVs. Kia Corp. has earmarked about half of its five-year, $22 billion investment budget to future projects, such as EVs.
The group is targeting annual sales of more than 3 million EVs globally by 2030. The Hyundai and Genesis brands are developing 17 battery-electric models globally by 2030, and Kia plans a lineup of 14 EVs by 2027.
In the U.S., Hyundai sells the Kona Electric and Ioniq 5 crossovers, Kia sells the Niro EV and EV6 crossovers, and Genesis just launched the GV60, which shares a dedicated EV platform with the Ioniq 5 and EV6. By next year, Hyundai will add an electric sedan, Kia will launch a three-row electric crossover, and Genesis will add electric versions of the G80 sedan and GV70 crossover.
Hyundai did not say which models would be built at the new factory, but the automaker seeks to source more EVs in the critical North American market. In its press release, the company said it will produce a "wide range of innovative EV models" there.
"We believe it is a perfect moment to think about increasing our capacity in the U.S. and to focus on what we believe is not only the future but already the present, which is EV," Muñoz told Automotive News this month.