According to Pulse (by Maeil Business News Korea), the new Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) plant will have an EV and battery production capacity of 300,000 units annually and represents an over $5.5 billion investment. Originally, HMG was planning to bring the plant online in the first half of 2025, but has now initiated a more aggressive construction timeline. This facility will be HMG’s first dedicated EV plant.
Also according to Pulse, the new plant is supposed to “roll out all green models” for THE Hyundai Motor Group (which includes the three brands above). Whether “all” means not only electric vehicles (EV), but also plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and standard hybrids (HEV) will be produced at the plant remains to be seen. I have reached out to media contacts to see if I can get confirmation on whether HMG’s plans for the new plant include all its electrified vehicles and will update the story when and if I hear back. Otherwise, Pulse noted that the new site will be an “EV-dedicated” plant and that Hyundai, at least, is planning to shift production of both the Santa Fe Hybrid and the forthcoming electric version of the Genesis GV70 to its Alabama plant, this year. For the electric GV70 at least, this may mean that one HMG vehicle will again be eligible for a U.S. federal tax incentive this year and next (unless Santa Fe “Hybrid” is inclusive of the plug-in version, in which case it would be at least two models).
Whether you are concerned about getting the U.S. federal tax incentives for your next vehicle or not, HMG is very concerned about it. Within days of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passing last month, HMG sent executives to Washington, D.C. to deal with the fall out from the loss of incentives in the U.S. The combined electric vehicle sales of the HMG brands is second only to Tesla in the U.S. market. The loss of federal tax incentive for all of their plug-in electric vehicles jeopardizes their second place status and is already forcing the automotive group to rethink its strategy for the U.S. market.
I wonder if what seems to be true for Hyundai will also be true for Kia. Might Kia try to move production of their Sorento, Sportage, or Niro PHEVs to their U.S. plant? What about their HEV models? Hopefully my outreach can confirm more details about HMG’s plans since there are many prospective Kia buyers out there that would like to know if tax incentives might again be available for any of their models, too. If it turns out that Kia and Hyundai are not planning to move plug-in hybrid production to the U.S., it would seem like the IRA could be forcing HMG to move up its plans to ramp down PHEV production, at least for the U.S. market, since those vehicles would be ineligible for U.S. federal tax incentives if they are not also produced here. If those vehicles are effectively more expensive than fully electric vehicles, their appeal to shoppers will naturally diminish unless Kia and Hyundai subsidize them. While that could be a short term means of dealing with the problem the IRA has created for the HMG brands, it is not likely something they can sustain, long term.
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Images provided by Kia and Hyundai.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.