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Hyundai Counts on Alabama Plant

Breaking bottlenecks is critical as the new 2015 Sonata rolls out.

by on Jun.30, 2014

The body of a new 2015 Hyundai Sonata rolls down the assembly line at the Alabama plant.

Hyundai has begun delivering the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata to dealers across America from its bustling assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama, a factory stretched well beyond its rated capacity as the Korean carmaker struggles to keep up with consumer demand.

The Montgomery plant, which has 3,000 employees, now operates on three shifts five days per week and last year built a total of 398,000 vehicles – nearly 100,000 more than what it was built to handle when it opened a decade ago.

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Dave Zuchowski, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, noted the ability of the Montgomery plant to expand production beyond the rated capacity has been critical to Hyundai’s ability to meet customer demand in recent years.


Hyundai Workers End Costly Strike

Maker offers better wages, end overnight shifts.

by on Sep.04, 2012

Supplies of Korean-made Hyundai products, such as this Elantra GT, had begun to dry up as a result of the strike.

Hyundai and its workers have ended one of the most bitter labor disputes to hit the Korean automotive industry in years – one that threatened to stall the maker’s rapid global growth.

Hyundai has agreed to raise wages for the 41,000 workers at its home market plants – while also accepting an end to overnight shifts at its Korean car plants.  A stalemate over those demands had led to a serious of brief work stoppages over the past month that, in turn, disrupted what is already a strained production system.

In total, Hyundai reportedly lost 92 hours of production since the union began its series of strikes on July 13.  That resulted in the loss of about 82,000 vehicles, according to the Korean carmaker – worth $1.5 billion.

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“Hyundai Motor management is pleased that the labor union members approved the agreements made last week, putting an end to the strikes,” Hyundai management said in a statement. “Our priority now is to normalize production and fulfill customers’ expectations.”


Short of Inventory, Hyundai Adds 3rd U.S. Shift

Move creating 877 American jobs.

by on May.01, 2012

The new 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe with the already wildly popular Elantra sedan.

The good news: American motorists are clamoring for Hyundai products. The bad news: the Korean maker doesn’t have enough to go around, so it is adding a third shift to its Alabama assembly plant in a move that should squeeze out another 20,000 vehicles annually.

It will also add another 877 jobs at the Montgomery facility, one of two assembly lines Korean manufacturers operate in the United States.  And Hyundai joins an array of other automakers, domestic and international, who have been adding thousands of jobs in recent months as the U.S. new car market continues a stronger than anticipated recovery.

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Manufacturers are expected to report sales later today that, on an annualized basis would reach at least 14.5 million, more than 1.5 million more than in 2011 if that pace were to be sustained.  Koreans Hyundai and Kia have been posting some of the biggest gains of any makers; Hyundai set an all-time record last month, but it has been running into serious capacity problems this year.


Automakers Help Force Changes in Alabama Illegal Immigrant Law

Industry riled up after foreign executives detained by police.

by on Apr.10, 2012

The 1 millionth Hyundai Sonata rolls off the assembly line at the maker's Alabama assembly pl.ant.

With two automakers – among the state’s largest employers — adding their weight to rising pressure on Alabama lawmakers, the state is ready to revise a controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants.

The law, which has inadvertently nabbed several foreign executives assigned to plants operated by Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, has been the target of protest by a coalition of unions and civil rights groups.

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The Business Council of Alabama said it was pleased the state legislature has decided to make changes to a law that crackdown on illegal immigrants. The law requires foreigners to have identification papers with them or face immediate arrest.

“The intent of the immigration law was never to make it difficult for businesses to comply and burden businesses with unnecessary red tape,” the Council said in a statement.”


Hyundai Eyes Second U.S. Plant

Maker credited with creating 94,000 U.S. jobs.

by on Nov.14, 2011

The 1 millionth Hyundai Sonata rolls off the assembly line at the maker's Alabama assembly pl.ant.

With dealers selling new models like the Elantra and Sonata as soon as the trucks roll up to Hyundai’s U.S. showrooms, the Korean carmaker is beginning to ponder the need for a second American assembly plant.

John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and chief executive officer, said the South Korean maker’s U.S. dealers could easily sell more vehicles but are hampered by shortages of Hyundai’s most popular products, including the new subcompact Accent, which has been all but sold out since it went on sales this past summer.

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Where dealer inventories typically average 60 days, industry wide, that’s down to barely two weeks, according to Krafcik, a one-time senior Ford engineer, who offered a glimpse at some of the Hyundai products to come during a meeting at the Hyundai-Kia Technical Center near Ann Arbor, Mi.


Hyundai May Add Second U.S. Assembly Plant

Maker can’t meet demand for Sonata, other models.

by on Jan.17, 2011

Already struggling to meet demand for the Sonata, Hyundai is now running short of the new Elantra.

Hyundai is giving serious thought to adding a second U.S. assembly plant, the maker struggling to find ways to keep up with booming demand for the new Sonata sedan and other increasingly popular models.

The South Korean carmaker saw its sales surge 24% in 2010, volume reaching a record 540,000.  That included an all-time high 200,000 Sonatas, a midsize model that was a runner-up in the closely-followed North American Car of the Year competition.  (The trophy went to the Chevrolet Volt.)

Adding a second plant is “something we’re going to look at,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, during an appearance at the Detroit Auto Show.  A decision will “probably (come) after this year,” he added.