Hyundai investing nearly $300 million in Alabama plant

Hyundai investing nearly $300 million in Alabama plant
An additional $292 million investment will outfit Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama with new technology to produce the latest vehicles and engines. (contributed)

Hyundai is investing an additional $292 million in its Alabama plant as it gears up for producing redesigned versions of two of its most popular models and becomes among the first plants in the world to produce an innovative new engine.

The latest investment will add machinery and equipment aimed at producing the redesigned Elantra sedan and Santa Fe SUV. It will also provide technology used in the production of the “Theta” SmartStream engine for Santa Fe and Sonata and the “Nu” 1.8L four-cylinder SmartStream engine for the Elantra.

Hailed as “the world’s first continuously variable valve duration (CVVD) engine,” the SmartStream uses a new valve control technology that regulates how much a valve is opened or closed based on driving conditions. The control is said to achieve a 4% boost in performance, a 5% improvement in fuel efficiency and a 12% reduction in emissions.

In May, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama opened its third facility on its Montgomery campus with a $388 million, 650,000 engine plant that created 50 new jobs. In July, Alabama NewsCenter reported that HMMA would be one of the first plants in the world to produce the SmartStream engine unveiled in South Korea.

“Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is making this investment in new technology and machinery to ensure the long-term success of our manufacturing operations,” said Robert Burns, vice president of Human Resources and Administration at HMMA. “The projects associated with the $292 million investment will begin in November 2019 and be completed by April 2020.”

Burns said both SmartStream engines will be produced on the same lines in the new engine plant.

“We are so very honored that Hyundai has once again chosen to significantly invest in Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama,” said Willie Durham, 2019 chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. “As home to Hyundai’s only North American manufacturing facility, the Montgomery community pledges to continue our enormously successful partnership.”

HMMA has invested more than $2 billion in its Alabama operations since the original assembly plant was announced in 2002.

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“Teamwork fuels economic growth, and we are grateful for partners like Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama,” said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. “HMMA’s long-term, expanding investment in the region drives significant impact on the region and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor unveiled an electric concept vehicle at the International Motor Show 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday. Dubbed “45” and patterned after the 45-year-old Hyundai Pony Coupe Concept, the vehicle was revealed as “focused on electrification, autonomous technologies and intelligent design.”

Burns said there are no plans to produce electric vehicles at HMMA.

But Hyundai did say 45 “highlights future technological developments that may influence forthcoming Hyundai models.”

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