Hyundai to set up US$7 billion factory during Biden’s visit to Asia – The Journal

A U.S. official familiar with the project said South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Group is expected to announce next week plans to build a massive electric vehicle factory near Savannah, Georgia.

ATLANTA (AP) — South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Group is expected to announce next week that it is building a massive electric vehicle plant near Savannah, Georgia, according to a U.S. official familiar with the planned announcement.

Hyundai is finalizing those plans as President Joe Biden is due to visit South Korea next week as part of his first visit to Asia during his presidency.

The White House and Hyundai have been discussing the project, which is expected to create thousands of new jobs in Georgia, and the official announcement is likely during Biden’s scheduled May 20-21 visit to Seoul, according to the official who was not allowed. comment and speak on condition of anonymity.

The official, however, pointed out that the details of the official announcement are still being worked out.

The plant could grow to 8,500 employees and would be built on a 2,200-acre (890-hectare) site owned by state and local governments near the hamlet of Ellabell, Georgia, two people familiar with the Georgia talks said. with Hyundai. The location is approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) inland from Savannah. The second person said Hyundai would invest more than $7 billion and could also build gasoline-powered cars at the site, with an announcement in Georgia scheduled for May 20. The people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential talks.

It would be the second major electric vehicle plant announced in Georgia in less than a year. Rivian Automotive announced in December that it would build a $5 billion, 7,500-job electric truck plant about 70 miles east of Atlanta.

“Hyundai Motor Group is committed to accelerating electrification in the United States,” spokeswoman Michelle Tinson said. “We will soon be announcing the location of our new electric vehicle plant in the United States.”

Biden is traveling to South Korea and Japan for talks with the leaders of those two countries. He will also meet during this trip with leaders of the Indo-Pacific strategic alliance with the United States known as the Quad: Australia, India and Japan.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office earlier this week, pledged during his campaign to strengthen US-South Korean ties.

US Senator Raphael Warnock, a Georgia Democrat, met with Kia officials on Tuesday. “I regularly say to business leaders: Georgia is open for business,” Warnock said, without mentioning the factory possibility.

Hyundai’s interest in Georgia was first reported by Reuters, while The Atlanta Journal-Constitution initially announced the announcement plan. The company sells cars under the Hyundai and Kia brands.

The announcement would come in the final days before Georgia’s May 24 primary election and could be a last-minute boost for Gov. Brian Kemp. The incumbent Republican is leading in the polls in his effort to fend off a challenge from former U.S. Senator David Perdue and others in the GOP primary. Perdue has repeatedly attacked the Rivian deal, in which Georgia and local governments pledged $1.5 billion in incentives and tax breaks, claiming the state is funneling money to liberal financiers and should have consulted local residents who oppose the plant as it threatens their rural quality of life.

The South Korean automaker would add a third U.S. assembly plant at Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama plant and a Kia plant in West Point, Georgia. It is unclear which models would be assembled at the new Georgia plant. Hyundai has announced plans to invest $7.4 billion in the United States by 2025 to produce electric vehicles, modernize factories and develop technology. The company plans to start building hybrid and electric vehicles at its Montgomery plant by this fall, investing $300 million.

Kemp has cultivated ties with the Korean automaker, part of a drive to create jobs in parts of Georgia outside of Atlanta and strengthen Georgia’s position in the electric vehicle industry. South Korean conglomerate SK Group is building a $2.6 billion complex to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles in Commerce, northeast of Atlanta.

“There was a reason why I took my first economic development trip to South Korea and visited big companies like Kia and Hyundai and many others. We have a great partnership with them and many other companies South Koreans, and we’ve had it for a long time,” Kemp said Monday.

The deal would bolster Georgia’s efforts to capture much of the electric vehicle industry. Pat Wilson, Georgia’s economic development commissioner, said in December after Georgia landed Rivian that the industry’s transition is a “field of opportunity” for Georgia.

“Looking ahead, I just see a tremendous amount of opportunity for us,” Wilson said,

Georgia purchased the site, which comprises more than 2,200 acres (890) hectares, for $61 million last July, with Bryan and Chatham counties each donating $9 million.

Madhani reported from Washington. Associated Press automotive writer Tom Krisher contributed from Detroit and writer Russ Bynum contributed from Savannah, Georgia.

FILE – South Korea’s new President Yoon Suk Yeol waves from a car after the presidential inauguration in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 10, 2023. He has pledged to deepen ties with the US, which could be helped if Hyundai Motor Group builds a new electric vehicle plant in Georgia (AP Photo/Lee ​​Jin-man, File)

President Joe Biden holds a cellphone as he walks to Air Force One at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Wednesday, May 11, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)