Hyundai’s Alabama auto plant has kicked off production of the redesigned 2019 Santa Fe, with plans to produce more than 84,000 models this year to meet growing demand for SUVs.
The 3,200-worker Montgomery factory also produces the Sonata and Elantra sedans. Since late last year, the plant has been coordinating retooling, robot programming and other logistical projects to prepare for the start of Santa Fe production.
On Friday, workers and local leaders celebrated with a vehicle roll-off ceremony and a parade through the plant led by the new SUV.
“We’re thrilled about the design and technological features of this generation Santa Fe,” said Dong Ryeol Choi, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. “This SUV features Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist; Safe Exit Assist to warn drivers if a car is approaching when they exit the vehicle; and Rear Occupant Alert to remind drivers to check the rear seats when exiting the vehicle.”
Choi added, “As we launch the new Santa Fe, take pride in every step of the production process – build each SUV as if it were your own. We must challenge ourselves to achieve the highest quality levels while producing the Santa Fe, Sonata and Elantra.”
Hyundai unveiled the new Santa Fe in March at the New York International Auto Show.
The vehicle’s bold new look is highlighted by Hyundai’s signature cascading grille and a composite light design with LED daytime running lights on top of the LED headlights. Premium touches include a three-dimensional instrument panel and contrasting seat stitching to convey luxury inside the cabin.
Elsewhere, there are improvements in ride comfort, handling and stability.
The new Santa Fe’s debut in Montgomery is the second major announcement for the facility this week.
Investing for the future
On Tuesday, Hyundai said it is investing $388 million to build a plant dedicated to manufacturing engine heads and enhance existing operations to support production of new models of the Sonata and Elantra.
The project is expected to create 50 jobs in Montgomery and is seen as an important step for the automaker in Alabama.
“Hyundai is really positioning its Montgomery manufacturing facility for the future with this investment,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“This is about technology. This is about taking a facility that’s been around for nearly two decades and really launching it into the next 20, 25, 30 years of productivity and ingenuity.”
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.