Hyundai Motor Co. has chosen Alabama as the site for its first U.S. auto manufacturing plant, the company said Tuesday.
'We have chosen Montgomery of Alabama, which has the best conditions,' Hyundai Motor President Kim Dong-jin said, announcing the decision by the company's board of directors early Tuesday.
Alabama was chosen for its 'mild weather, relatively cheap and quality labor power and easy access to electricity, water and other utilities,' Kim said.
'We have decided to build a U.S. plant as part of our strategy to become one of the top five carmakers in the world by 2010,' he said.
Alabama and Kentucky were on Hyundai's final list of candidates for the dlrs 1 billion plant after it ruled out Mississippi and Ohio.
The four U.S. states had been vying to host the Hyundai plant, which will hire 2,000 people and make 300,000 cars a year beginning in 2005.
'This is a tribute to the people of Alabama that a renowned corporation like this would look to Alabama for a place to call home. It's a tribute to the state's world class workers,' Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman said.
Siegelman knew of the Hyundai decision before the company made the announcement, following a phone call from Hyundai's president.
David Bronner, chief executive officer of the Retirement Systems of Alabama and a key player in efforts to attract new business into the state, said the plant would be a major boost for the Alabama economy.
He said the Hyundai facility would strengthen Alabama's growing reputation as a player in the automobile manufacturing industry. Mercedes Benz recently announced it is expanding its plant at Vance in Tuscaloosa County that makes M-Class sports utility vehicles, and Honda has constructed a manufacturing plant at Lincoln in Talladega County where it will make Odyssey minivans.
Hyundai said its Alabama plant will produce EF Sonata and Santa Fe sports utility vehicle.
Hyundai sold 346,000 cars in the United States last year.
Hyundai, South Korea's largest automaker, posted a net profit of 1.17 trillion won (dlrs 900 million) last year, the highest profit in its 35-year history. The company credited brisk sales of expensive luxury cars and sport utility vehicles.