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Amid IRA setback, Hyundai Motor Group breaks ground for new EV plant in US

Advanced plan to build US plant signifies Hyundai's drive to expand overseas production but came in desperate attempt to counter IRA

Oct. 26, 2022 - 15:03 By Kim Da-sol


Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun (fifth from left) and Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp (sixth from left) shovel the first spades of dirt for construction of the Hyundai Motor Group's new manufacturing plant in Bryan County, Georgia, US, Tuesday local time. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group on Wednesday officially kicked off a construction of its first electric vehicle-dedicated manufacturing plant in Georgia, US, gearing up for mass production of 300,000 cars annually from the first half of 2025 amid the US government pushing ahead with a full implementation of a new law that removes subsidies on electric vehicle made outside of American soil.

The envisioned plant named Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) illustrates the carmaker’s latest focus in “metamobility,” the company said. The concept refers to its drive to integrate robotics and the metaverse, it added.

At HMGMA, a high level of robotics and AI technology will be applied, for a safe, efficient, sustainable and carbon-neutral manufacturing process. The company will create a new working environment where humans and robots collaborate, it explained.

Spanning over 11.8-million-square-meter land, the Georgia plant will produce EVs designed under Hyundai Motor, Kia and Genesis brands. Located in Bryan County, west of Savannah, adjacent to Kia’s Georgia plant and Hyundai’s Alabama plant, the new plant is expected to create a stable supply chain and smooth auto parts delivery between these plants, officials said.

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony held in Georgia, US, Tuesday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

"Hyundai and the people of Georgia share many qualities: respect for our histories, ingenuity, creativity, and determination to make the world better for the next generation," said Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun during the ground breaking ceremony held Tuesday local time.

"Today, our EVs are recognized as best in class, and with this partnership, we are determined to be the global leader in electrification, safety, quality, and sustainability. With the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America, we will continue to evolve beyond an automaker to the world’s leading mobility solutions provider," Chung said.

Georgia state government is set to provide tax benefits and incentives worth a combined 2.4 trillion won ($1.8 billion) to Hyundai Motor.

Hyundai also plans to construct a battery cell manufacturing plant near HMGMA, by partnering with a global battery maker.

With the establishment of a new US manufacturing base, the South Korean carmaker has set a target of selling 3.23 million EVs across the world in 2030 and taking a global market share of 12 percent.. In the US alone, it plans to sell 840,000 EVs in 2030, by launching a lineup of 18 EVs under Hyundai and Genesis brand and 13 Kia models.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held a few months earlier than was first planned over an implementation of the new US law, inflation reduction act, that effectively curbs Korean carmaker's competitiveness in the world's second-largest auto market.

The world's third-largest carmaker by global sales, together with the South Korean government, has been seeking ways to revise the bill, but the US government remains adament.

Earlier this week, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters that the legislation “is what it is” and should be implemented as it is written.

When asked about Yellen's comment, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Wednesday morning that she seems to be "slightly different" from the general view of the US government.

"Let's wait and see a little longer," he said.