Hyundai to suspend operations at its main factory to bolster electric vehicle production


South Korea’s largest automaker, Hyundai Motor, is bolstering EV production despite rumors that the market is slowing. The automaker revealed plans to suspend operations at its main factory in South Korea as it shifts its focus toward EVs.

On Monday, Hyundai said it will temporarily suspend activities at its Asan plant in South Korea.

According to Hyundai’s regulatory filing, the suspension will take place between Dec 31, 2023 – Feb 13, 2024. The company will resume operations the following day.

Despite headlines claiming EV demand is slowing, Hyundai is charging ahead. Senior leaders told Reuters ahead of the LA Auto Show earlier this month that they are still seeing strong demand for their electric vehicles.

“I am still very bullish on the battery electrics,” explained Jose Munoz, Hyundai’s global president, highlighting that EV sales doubled year-over-year.

Hyundai raced past Ford and GM in the third quarter, placing second in the US EV market. Registration data from Automotive News shows Hyundai and sister company Kia claimed 7.5% of the market.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 (left) and IONIQ 6 (right) at Tesla Supercharger (Source: Hyundai)

Hyundai halts main ICE plant to meet EV demand

Although Tesla still dominates the market (57.4%), Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 and Kia’s EV6 set new October sales records last month.

Hyundai’s growth comes despite not qualifying for the IRA’s EV tax credit (only through leasing). The company has plans to change this.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 (Source: Hyundai)

“Based on what I see, I need more. If I had more capacity today, I could sell more cars.” Hyundai’s global leader said. After beginning construction on its first EV and battery plant in the US last October, Hyundai said 99.9% of the foundation work is complete.

Munoz said the company is “pushing as much as we possibly can to get it ready by October next year.”

Once mass production begins, Hyundai plans to build 300,000 EVs at the $5.5 billion mega EV plant.

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Limited (Source: Hyundai)

Meanwhile, Hyundai broke ground on a new EV plant in Ulsan, South Korea, two weeks ago. The company is suspending operations at its main factory in the region to focus on construction.

Once up and running, the new plant in Ulsan will be able to produce 200,000 EVs a year. It’s expected to be completed in 2025.

The site is on Hyundai’s main Ulsan complex, which can build 1.4 million cars a year. Hyundai currently makes the gas-powered Sonata and Grandeur at the plant. It also added the IONIQ 6 last year.

Electrek’s Take

Although other legacy automakers are delaying key EV targets, Hyundai is charging ahead. The automaker plans to become a top three global EV producer by 2030, and adding capacity now is the first step.

Hyundai is doubling down with big moves in the EV market. The company was the first to partner with Amazon to sell vehicles on its platform.

It also just opened its new HMGICS last week. The “smart urban mobility hub” offers new ways to buy custom Hyundai EVs.

Hyundai is looking toward the future by investing now. The company is attracting new buyers with unique EVs built from the ground up.

Source: Reuters

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