The Hyundai Motor Group is already eyeing its second North American EV assembly while its first is still under construction in Bryan County, Georgia. According to Hyundai Auto Canada’s CEO, Don Romano, “Canada’s going to be part of that conversation.”
Hyundai initially revealed plans for its first dedicated EV facility in North America last May. The South Korean automaker agreed to invest $5.5 billion to build a new EV assembly and battery plant in the state of Georgia.
Although initial plans included beginning construction in early 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed in August, prompted the automaker to break ground on October 25, 2022.
The 3,000-acre project is the largest in the state’s history, forecasted to produce around 300,000 electric vehicles annually.
Hyundai announced last month it would build a $4.3 battery plant adjacent to the manufacturing facility in collaboration with LG Energy Solutions. Battery production is expected to start at the end of 2025 at the earliest, with a 30 GWh annual capacity when fully operational.
The South Korean automaker also partnering with SK On for a $5 billion EV battery cell factory with a 35 GWh capacity. This battery plant is expected to begin manufacturing cells in the second half of 2025.
Although Hyundai’s primary focus is in Georgia currently, the plant alone likely won’t be enough to meet North American demand in the future, says Romano.
Hyundai looks to expand with second EV assembly plant
Speaking with Automotive News Canada, Romano said that “Canada is on the list for future growth” regarding Hyundai’s second EV assembly plant in the region. However, he added, “We’re going to obviously go where we see the most advantageous future for electric vehicles.”
Canada could be that place. According to the report, Hyundai currently builds the most vehicles in the region without a significant manufacturing footprint.
The Hyundai Motor Group, including Kia and Genesis, sold 186,566 vehicles last year, according to Automotive News Research & Data Center.
This means Hyundai is currently fourth in total volume, behind Ford, GM, and Toyota, while just ahead of Stellantis and Honda, all of which manufacture in the region.
With Hyundai’s sales climbing in North America, the company is looking to expand its manufacturing footprint. And Canada is recruiting.
On a trip to South Korea last month, François-Philippe Champagne met with Hyundai leaders. In a tweet that followed, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry of Canada vowed to “keep working together to expand and collaborate” on the EV industry.
Romano claims Hyundai has had several conversations with the Canadian government regarding a potential deal.
Sam Fiorani, VP of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, explained:
Canada is now pushing for an EV future. It makes a lot of sense to piggyback off of the battery plants and the technology, and the good people who are there to provide R&D, to provide assembly work [and] to provide supplier parts.
Fiorani forecasts Hyundai will need to expand its North American assembly footprint in the early 2030s, if not sooner.
He said, “Hyundai has done a great job of expanding over the last 30 to 35 years, and if it continues to grow like this, they will need more plants.”
Hyundai revealed plans to become a top 3 global EV producer, aiming to reach two million in annual EV sales by 2030. With ambitions to become an EV market leader, an assembly plant in Canada may make sense.
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