Sources: Hyundai to set $7B US plant during Biden Asia visit

May 12, 2022, 2:29 AM | Updated: 4:08 pm

FILE -- Gov. Brian Kemp stands next to a Rivian electric truck while announcing the company's plans...

FILE -- Gov. Brian Kemp stands next to a Rivian electric truck while announcing the company's plans to build a $5 billion plant east of Atlanta projected to employ 7,500 workers, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia officials could announce a second massive electric vehicle plant to be built by Hyundai near Savannah in coming days. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Group is expected to announce next week that it’s building a massive electric vehicle plant near Savannah, Georgia, according to a U.S. official familiar with the anticipated announcement.

Hyundai is finalizing those plans as President Joe Biden is set to travel to South Korea next week as part of his first visit to Asia during his presidency.

The White House and Hyundai have been in discussions about the project, which is expected to bring thousands of new jobs to Georgia, and the formal announcement is likely during Biden’s scheduled May 20-21 visit to Seoul, according to the official who was not authorized to comment and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official stressed though that details of the formal announcement are still being worked out.

The plant could grow to include 8,500 employees and would be built on a 2,200-acre (890-hectare) site that state and local governments own near the hamlet of Ellabell, Georgia, said two people familiar with Georgia’s talks with Hyundai. The location’s about 25 miles (40 kilometers) inland from Savannah. The second person said Hyundai would invest more than $7 billion and could also build some cars powered by gasoline engines at the site, with an announcement in Georgia set for May 20. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential talks.

It would be the second huge electric vehicle plant announced in Georgia in less than a year. Rivian Automotive in December announced it would build a $5 billion, 7,500-job electric truck plant about 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of Atlanta.

“Hyundai Motor Group is committed to accelerating electrification in the U.S.,” said spokesperson Michelle Tinson. “We will announce the location of our new US EV plant soon.”

Biden is heading to South Korea and Japan for talks with those two countries’ leaders. He also will meet during that trip with leaders from the Indo-Pacific strategic alliance with the U.S. known as the Quad: Australia, India and Japan.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office earlier this week, pledged during his campaign to strengthen U.S.-South Korea ties.

U.S. Sen Raphael Warnock, a Georgia Democrat, met with Kia officials Tuesday. “I tell business leaders regularly: Georgia is open for business,” Warnock said, not mentioning the possibility of the plant.

Hyundai’s interest in Georgia was first reported by Reuters, while The Atlanta Journal-Constitution initially reported the announcement plan. The company sells cars under the Hyundai and Kia brands.

The announcement would come in the closing days before Georgia’s May 24 primary elections and could be a last-minute boost to Gov. Brian Kemp. The Republican incumbent leads in polls in his effort to hold off a challenge from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue and others in the GOP primary. Perdue has repeatedly attacked the Rivian deal, in which Georgia and local governments have pledged $1.5 billion of incentives and tax breaks, saying the state is transferring money to liberal financiers and should have consulted with local residents who oppose the plant because it threatens their rural quality of life.

The South Korean automaker would add a third American assembly plant to the Hyundai factory in Montgomery, Alabama, and a Kia factory in West Point, Georgia. It’s unclear what models would be assembled at the new Georgia plant. Hyundai announced plans to invest $7.4 billion in the United States by 2025 to produce electric vehicles, upgrade plants and develop technology. The company plans to start building hybrid and electric vehicles at its Montgomery plant by this fall, investing $300 million.

Kemp has cultivated ties to the Korean automaker, part of a push to deliver jobs to parts of Georgia outside Atlanta and to build Georgia’s position in the electric vehicle industry. South Korean conglomerate SK Group is building a $2.6 billion complex to make batteries for electric vehicles in Commerce, northeast of Atlanta.

“There was a reason I made my first economic development trip to South Korea and visited with great companies like Kia and Hyundai and a lot of others. We’ve got a great partnership with them and a lot of other South Korean companies, and we have for a long time,” Kemp said Monday.

The deal would solidify Georgia’s efforts to capture a big piece of the electric vehicle industry. Pat Wilson, Georgia’s economic development commissioner, said in December after Georgia landed Rivian that the industry transition is a “seed field of opportunity” for Georgia.

“Looking forward, I just see a huge amount of opportunity for us,” Wilson said,

Georgia bought the site, which includes more than 2,200 acres (890) hectares) for $61 million last July, with Bryan and Chatham counties each kicking in $9 million.

Madhani reported from Washington. Associated Press auto writer Tom Krisher contributed from Detroit and writer Russ Bynum contributed from Savannah, Georgia.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman gestures while speaking at University College London as part of his ...

Associated Press

OpenAI boss ‘heartened’ by talks with world leaders over will to contain AI risks

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said Monday he was encouraged by a desire shown by world leaders to contain any risks posed by the artificial intelligence technology his company and others are developing.

20 hours ago

FILE - The draft of a bill that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., neg...

Associated Press

Debt deal imposes new work requirements for food aid and that frustrates many Democrats

Democrats are deeply conflicted about the debt ceiling deal, fearing damage has been done to safety net programs

2 days ago

Seattle lawyer...

Associated Press

Lawsuit alleging ex-deputy falsified arrest report settled for $250K

A lawsuit filed by a Washington oyster farmer accusing a former county deputy of falsifying an arrest report

2 days ago

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Washington man climbing Mount Rainier dies near summit

A Washington state man who was trying to summit Mount Rainier this week collapsed and died near the top of the mountain.

4 days ago

biden crisis averted...

Zeke Miller and Chris Megerian

Biden celebrates a ‘crisis averted’ in Oval Office address on bipartisan debt ceiling deal

President Joe Biden celebrated a “crisis averted” in his first speech to the nation from the Oval Office Friday evening.

4 days ago

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition, ...

Associated Press

US, Europe working on voluntary AI code of conduct as calls grow for regulation

The United States and Europe are drawing up a voluntary code of conduct for artificial intelligence as the developing technology triggers warnings

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Sources: Hyundai to set $7B US plant during Biden Asia visit