Hyundai Motor breaks ground on $1.5 billion EV plant in South Korea By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Hyundai Motor Company is pictured at the New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
By Heekyong Yang
ULSAN, South Korea (Reuters) -Hyundai Motor Co broke ground on Monday on a 2 trillion won ($1.52 billion) plant dedicated to making electric vehicles (EVs) in South Korea, as the automaker accelerates a shift away from petrol-powered cars.
Hyundai Motor (OTC:), the world’s No.3 automaker by sales with its affiliate Kia Corp, plans to begin mass production from the plant in the first quarter of 2026. Construction is expected to end in 2025.
The factory in Ulsan, in the southeast, will have an annual capacity of 200,000 units and the company said its first model will be an electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) from its luxury brand Genesis.
Hyundai Motor Group, which encompasses Hyundai Motor, Kia and Genesis brands, said in April it plans to launch 31 EV models by 2030.
“I trust Ulsan will be an innovative mobility city that leads the way in the era of electrification,” Hyundai Motor Group’s Executive Chair Euisun Chung said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the plant, the automaker’s first new factory in South Korea in 29 years.
The Ulsan complex is Hyundai’s biggest manufacturing site, with its own port and an annual production capacity of 1.4 million vehicles, including exports of 1.1 million units.
Hyundai Motor has said it would stick to its EV rollout plans in contrast to some rivals that have pulled back on EV production due to cooling demand.
Last year, Hyundai Motor Group broke ground on a $5.54 billion EV and battery plant in the U.S. state of Georgia.
Asked whether the company had any plans to build additional dedicated EV plants, Hyundai Motor CEO Jaehoon Chang told reporters it was currently focused on the plants in the United States and at home.
Chang also said Hyundai was monitoring sentiment in the EV market, but believed the trend for EVs was positive regardless of issues over a shortage of charging infrastructure.
Citing flattening demand for EVs, General Motors Co (NYSE:) said it would delay production by a year of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra electric pickup trucks at a plant in Michigan. Ford Motor (NYSE:) Co is temporarily cutting one of three shifts at the plant that builds its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck.
Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc is also slowing plans for a Mexico factory, while GM and Honda (NYSE:) announced last month that they were ending a $5 billion plan to develop lower-cost EVs together.
($1 = 1,316.5100 won)