By Jerry Underwood
Made in Alabama

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama’s leadership, team members and special guests celebrated a production milestone on Aug. 12 – the 5 millionth vehicle built at the Montgomery assembly plant.

Hyundai reached the 5 million mark in a little more than 16 years, with the Alabama factory having begun production in May 2005. The milestone vehicle — a Santa Cruz Sport Adventure — was revealed in auto-show style at HMMA’s training center.

Mass production of the Santa Cruz began June 22, 2021, and signified many firsts for HMMA: the first open-bed Hyundai vehicle built for the North American market, the first time a Hyundai vehicle has been launched at a U.S. facility before being assembled in South Korea, and the first time HMMA has produced five vehicles on the same assembly line.

“Reaching today’s milestone in HMMA’s storied history in Alabama would not have been possible without the energy and enthusiasm of our valued team members, the dependability of our supplier network and unwavering support of state and local governments,” Hyundai Alabama President and CEO Ernie Kim said.

Over the years, Hyundai’s only U.S. factory has produced 2,562,880 Sonatas, 1,489,568 Elantras, 908,779 Santa Fes, 36,989 Tucsons and 1,784 Santa Cruzes.

“Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is an integral member of not only the River Region, but the entire state of Alabama,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “I’m thrilled to celebrate the 5 millionth vehicle rolling off the line in our great state. Alabama has become a major player in the automotive industry, and today’s milestone proves we will maintain our status as an industry leader. Congratulations to the HMMA family on an incredible achievement.”

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama reveals the milestone 5 millionth vehicle built at its Montgomery plant — a Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle — in auto-show style. (Hyundai)

Financial impacts

The ceremony was attended by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell; Ivey’s chief of staff, Jo Bonner; Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed; and Montgomery County Commissioner Elton Dean.

Hyundai’s Alabama plant celebrated the production launch of the all-new 2022 Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle on June 22, 2021. The Santa Cruz became the fifth vehicle in the facility’s current lineup. (Hyundai)

“Over the last two decades, HMMA has become an essential part of our community, and I applaud their continued commitment to growing our local economy and creating jobs for hard-working Alabamians,” Sewell said. “I wish them success on this momentous occasion and for years to come.”

HMMA recently completed a $410 million plant expansion to support the addition of its fourth and fifth models, the Tucson and Santa Cruz, to the Alabama production lineup.

The addition of these models further enhances HMMA’s ability to adjust its vehicle production with market demand and stay competitive in the ever-changing automotive market, Kim said.

The 5 millionth vehicle produced at HMMA was built July 27.

In addition to producing 5 million vehicles in Alabama, Hyundai has produced more than 6 million Alabama-built engines. The Montgomery operation provides engines to the Kia plant in West Point, Georgia.

The Alabama plant’s overall economic impact has been calculated at almost $5 billion a year. Here’s a look at HMMA’s impacts:

  • Employs more than 3,000 people, with an annual payroll of about $260 million.
  • Supports 14,436 direct and indirect jobs in Alabama.
  • Spends about $6.3 billion per year to support its manufacturing operation and maintain its facility and investment.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.