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Hyundai Motor breaks ground on $2b EV plant in South Korea

ULSAN, South Korea – Hyundai Motor broke ground on Monday on a 2 trillion won (S$2.06 billion) plant dedicated to making electric vehicles (EVs) in South Korea, as the carmaker accelerates a shift away from petrol-powered cars.

Hyundai Motor, the world’s No.3 carmaker by sales with its affiliate Kia Corp, plans to begin mass production from the plant in the first quarter of 2026. Construction is expected to end in 2025.

The factory in Ulsan, in the south-east, will have an annual capacity of 200,000 units. The company said its first model will be an electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) from its luxury brand Genesis.

Hyundai Motor Group, which encompasses Hyundai Motor, Kia and Genesis brands, said in April it plans to launch 31 EV models by 2030.

“I trust Ulsan will be an innovative mobility city that leads the way in the era of electrification,” Hyundai Motor Group’s executive chair Chung Euisun said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the plant, the carmaker’s first new factory in South Korea in 29 years.

The Ulsan complex is Hyundai’s biggest manufacturing site, with its own port and an annual production capacity of 1.4 million vehicles, including exports of 1.1 million units.

Hyundai Motor has said it would stick to its EV rollout plans in contrast to some rivals – like General Motors and Ford Motor – that have pulled back on EV production due to cooling demand.

Last year, Hyundai Motor Group broke ground on a US$5.54 billion (S$7.53 billion) EV and battery plant in the US state of Georgia.

Asked whether the company had any plans to build additional dedicated EV plants, Hyundai Motor CEO Chang Jaehoon told reporters it was currently focused on the plants in the United States and at home.

Mr Chang also said Hyundai was monitoring sentiment in the EV market, but believed the trend for EVs was positive, regardless of issues over a shortage of charging infrastructure.

Citing flattening demand for EVs, General Motors said it would delay production by a year of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra electric pickup trucks at a plant in Michigan. Ford Motor is temporarily cutting one of three shifts at the plant that builds its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck.

Tesla is also slowing plans for a Mexico factory, while GM and Honda announced last month that they were ending a US$5 billion plan to develop lower-cost EVs together. REUTERS

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