Hyundai Motors plans to add a third shift and an estimated 877 more workers at its Montgomery, Alabama, assembly plant to meet growing demand for its Sonata midsize and Elantra compact autos.
The third shift should be operational in September, giving the Korean-based automaker the ability to produce 20,000 additional vehicles. The added shift will bring total employment at its large manufacturing complex located at 700 Hyundai Boulevard to more than 3,000 workers.
"The continued success of Hyundai's Sonata and Elantra in North America is a direct reflection of the dedication to quality and craftsmanship by every HMMA team member," said Young Deuk Lim, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai's Alabama manufacturing division. "This commitment is the key reason Hyundai Motor Company chose to continue to invest in the people of Alabama and increase vehicle production in Montgomery."
The hiring process will be facilitated by Alabama Industrial Development Training. The increased volume at the Alabama plant is also expected to create additional jobs for nearby suppliers.
Alabama-built Sonata represents 33 percent of Hyundai's U.S. sales. The newly redesigned Elantra has been assembled in Alabama since October 2010. Together with production from Korea, Elantra represents 31 percent of Hyundai's U.S. sales. Canadian sales of the Sonata and Elantra account for more than 14 percent of Hyundai's annual production.
Announcement of additional U.S. production capacity comes as Hyundai's U.S. sales broke an all-time sales record in March 2012. Through March 2012, sales of the Sonata and Elantra sedans have already seen year-over-year sales increase of six percent and eight percent, respectively, which is above the record levels set during 2011. Krafcik said the U.S. market is recovering from the recession faster than other regions, so he's been able to make a strong case to headquarters in Seoul to increase North America production.