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Hyundai’s Alabama manufacturing plant registers production gain in 2019

Hyundai’s Alabama auto assembly plant produced 336,000 vehicles in 2019, the company announced Thursday, a total output that rose about 4 percent over the previous year.

The Santa Fe SUV was the primary contributor to the production increase at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, as consumer preferences have shifted toward sport utilities.

Workers at the Montgomery facility also build the Sonata and Elantra sedans, and they launched a redesigned Sonata in November. The updated model features a new sporty design, along with improvements in safety, technology, performance and fuel efficiency.

“We are optimistic the 2020 Sonata will draw more consumers, who want to purchase a midsize sedan, to the Hyundai brand in 2020,” said Robert Burns, HMMA spokesman.

Another upcoming development for Hyundai in Alabama is a $410 million, 200-job expansion that will add the all-new compact utility vehicle, the Santa Cruz, to the assembly lines in 2021.

The project is expected to bring an additional 1,000 jobs to the Montgomery area at supplier and logistics operations.

“Hyundai continues to make great strides in Alabama, adding new, high-quality products, jobs and investments at a truly impressive pace,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“At the same time, current production is growing, which underscores the skill and dedication of the workforce in Montgomery and across the River Region.”

Earlier in 2019, HMMA celebrated the grand opening of its new cylinder head engine plant, a $388 million, 50-job project.

Last year’s total engine production was 472,254, Burns said.

During the year, he said, each of HMMA’s engine shops had downtime due to retooling to begin building the next generation four-cylinder engines. Engine 1 was down from January to mid-May, while Engine 2 was down during November and December.

Engine 2 retooling is expected to be complete by May. The project annual engine capacity of HMMA after all projects are complete will be about 670,000 units.

Elsewhere in Alabama’s auto industry, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama estimated its 2019 output at 351,708 minivans, SUVs and pickups, along with the V-6 engines that power them. Mercedes-Benz has not announced production totals for its plant in Tuscaloosa County.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)