Announcement set to confirm $7 billion plant in Georgia

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ELLABELL, Georgia — Hyundai Motor Group confirmed on May 20 that the company will spend $5.5 billion on a massive electric vehicle factory near Savannah that will employ thousands of people — a deal Georgia’s governor called the most largest economic development project in the history of the state.

Hyundai Motor Group CEO Jaehoon Chang made the announcement with Governor Brian Kemp at the site of the future factory in Bryan County, where state and local authorities last year purchased sprawling flat land for 61 million in hopes of attracting a major manufacturer.

“Hard-working Georgians will have the opportunity to have high-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs with a big company,” Kemp said in an interview.

Hyundai said it would employ at least 8,100 workers at the plant near the unincorporated town of Ellabell. It will be Hyundai’s first US plant dedicated to assembling electric vehicles and will also produce vehicle batteries.

“This new, high-tech electric vehicle factory represents the future of our business,” Chang told more than 100 people as they sipped champagne under a tent pitched at the site on a dusty field of cleared earth.

Hyundai Motors said it plans to start construction early next year and start producing up to 300,000 vehicles a year in 2025. The company did not specify which vehicle models the factory will Georgia will manufacture. In a video shown during the announcement in Georgia, Hyundai Motors Chairman Euisun Chung said it will produce “a wide range of exciting and innovative electric vehicles for our US customers.”

Company and state officials said they expect suppliers to invest an additional $1 billion in the region.

“It’s going to continue to bring wealth and opportunity to the area,” said Kemp, who predicted a ripple effect that will boost businesses from Savannah’s already booming seaport to restaurants and convenience stores.

The announcement was made while President Joe Biden was visiting South Korea. He was due to meet the CEO of Hyundai in Seoul on May 22. Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told reporters that Biden “will have the opportunity to say thank you for this important investment that will take place in the United States.”

The timing was right for Kemp, who is being challenged by former U.S. Senator David Perdue in a Republican primary election to be decided on May 24.

This is the second major electric vehicle plant announced in Georgia in less than a year. Rivian Automotive announced plans in December for a $5 billion electric truck plant east of Atlanta that is expected to employ about 7,500 workers.

Kemp declined to discuss details of the incentives and tax breaks offered to the company for setting up in Georgia. Rivian received a package worth $1.5 billion.

The state of Georgia and partner local governments purchased 2,200 acres in Bryan County a year ago to attract a major manufacturer. It wasn’t big enough for Hyundai. The state and its partners purchased two additional adjoining parcels to expand the site to over 2,900 acres.

That’s over 4.5 square miles dedicated to the Hyundai project. Officials declined to give the sale price for the additional acreage, saying the property was under contract but the deal had not been finalized.

The plant site is adjacent to Interstate 16 which connects Savannah and Macon, not far from its intersection with Interstate 95 which spans the east coast. It is also close to the Port of Savannah, the fourth busiest US seaport.

Kemp predicted that the Hyundai plant will become one of the biggest customers for the Port of Savannah, which has already seen explosive growth in recent years.

Hyundai Motor Group sells cars under the Hyundai and Kia brands. The South Korean automaker already operates two US assembly plants in Montgomery, Alabama, and West Point, Georgia.

AP reporters Aamer Madhani in Seoul, South Korea, and Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this story.

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