Hyundai produces luxury-model Genesis in Montgomery

A $590 million investment has the Hyundai plant driving into the electrified market

Workers install a battery in a Genesis Electrified GV70 SUV, which HMMA began producing — along with its fueled version — in 2023.

Last year was fast-paced for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) as the Montgomery plant began manufacturing the Genesis Electrified GV70 and the gas-powered Genesis GV70, as well as gearing up for the all-new fifth-generation Santa Fe, which officially started production this January.

The vehicles are the fruition of a $590 million investment by HMMA in recent years, says Scott Posey, manager of public relations. “We have new milestones every year here at the plant, but 2023 was a particularly exciting year,” he says. “Last year was a retooling of our production line. The focus this year is stabilizing our processes.”

This year also will see a $15 million investment in the plant to provide a new medical clinic for employees and their families, Posey says. “The clinic will provide medical services and be able to do triage and X-rays,” he says.

HMMA, which now employs more than 4,000 workers after adding 200 with production changes, is proud to have had the Genesis GV70 model added to its lineup, particularly because the MotorTrend 2022 award-winning luxury Genesis SUV had never been manufactured outside of South Korea before, Posey says. “We appreciate they entrusted us with that level of detail for a luxury model,” he says.

Scott Posey, manager of public relations for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.

It’s also a point of pride that HMMA garnered the Genesis Electrified GV70, because previously no Hyundai or Genesis electric vehicle had been manufactured outside of South Korea, Posey says. Unlike many EVs, the Genesis Electrified GV70 was not built from the ground up but is a modification of the original Genesis GV70 luxury model. “We’re entering the EV revolution and are thrilled to have been chosen for the honor,” he says. “They had confidence our workforce could handle the new technology.”

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Next door, Hyundai Mobis, a major supplier to HMMA and Kia Motor Manufacturing Georgia, is bringing a new $205 million battery assembly plant online this year to help support electric vehicle production, Posey says.

With a partial production year, the HMMA plant through December had manufactured 13,000 internal combustion engine GV70s and 2,700 electric GV70s, Posey says. “Over time we likely will be producing more Genesis Electrified GV70s because demand for electric vehicles in general is growing,” he says.



Of the 369,000 total vehicles HMMA produced last year, the majority were Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs and Santa Fe pick-up trucks, Posey says. The plant also produces the Santa Cruz SportAdventure Vehicle. “Our production levels follow consumer demand,” he says. “SUVs and pickup trucks have become the most popular in recent time. Sales of the Tucson increased by 20% in 2023.”

The Hyundai Tucson crossover SUV was a big contributor to the brand’s record sales last year.

About 40% of Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are made at HMMA, Posey says. Most vehicles made at the Montgomery plant are sold within the United States. A small percentage are exported to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and El Salvador, Posey says.

He anticipates strong customer demand for the new fifth-generation Santa Fe, which has come a long way from its roots as the first SUV Hyundai produced about two decades ago. The last full-scale Santa Fe model redesign was in 2018. “The new generation is larger, longer, more luxurious and has more technology incorporated than ever before,” he says.

At press time Posey said a rapid ramp up of Santa Fe production was planned, but no production projections had been released. “There will be added pressure for our local suppliers, but we believe they can handle it,” he says.

The trend for producing vehicles with additional technology is expected to continue, Posey says. For example, Hyundai’s vision for the future includes smarter cars, including the integration of Alexa into vehicles in 2025. “Drivers will be able to communicate with their Alexa technology at home,” he says. “The concept is of creating mobility devices with all the tech and AI vs. just vehicles.”

The fifth-generation Santa Fe has a boxy new look due to a longer wheelbase and wider tailgate.

Hyundai Motor Corp. has come a long way to become the third largest automotive manufacturer in the world, Posey says. Highly awarded for various models, the company was created in 1967 and began selling its first model in the U.S., the Excel, in the late 1980s. “Hyundai has come a long way in a short amount of time,” he says.

Posey, who is originally from Andalusia, believes Hyundai’s impact on Alabama and the River Region, in particular, has been underrated. “We lost textile plants and manufacturing jobs in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, so we were hurting there,” he says. “But in addition to the economic impact of HMMA coming to our state, there’s also cultural impact. It’s broadened our world.”

He also points to HMMA bringing in $1 million in local donations, including $300,000 from employees. “Half a million in HMMA corporate giving is targeting the development of STEM skills through robotic competitions in the River Region,” Posey says.

HMMA is partnering with Auburn and wants to expand out into more schools in the region, to create an 8-week automotive-based curriculum at middle schools, which could lead to jobs at the plant, Posey says.

Kathy Hagood is a Birmingham-based freelance contributor to Business Alabama.

This article appears in the March 2024 issue of Business Alabama.

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