Kia’s second car factory in Georgia which is smaller than the first

Now combined with Rivian, Georgia could boast of a couple of EV car projects within six months, bringing with it a combined promise of thousands of manufacturing jobs and spinoffs from suppliers. The contracts would, respectively, rank as the two largest the state has ever engaged.

The deal could be officially announced before the GOP pre-election on May 24 when Kemp faces a difficult primary challenge.

inscription arrowtitle

A gravel road leading to the Bryan County mega-site recently purchased by the state of Georgia to attract major economic development deals.

Credit: Greg Bluestein

A gravel road leading to the Bryan County mega-site recently purchased by the state of Georgia to attract major economic development deals.

Credit: Greg Bluestein

inscription arrowtitle

A gravel road leading to the Bryan County mega-site recently purchased by the state of Georgia to attract major economic development deals.

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Credit: Greg Bluestein

States crave car factories because they bring in billions of investments, thousands of middle-class jobs, and the likelihood of unbundling jobs from a network of suppliers. Kia already has a network of suppliers in Georgia that support its existing plant in West Point, where it produces Sorento and Telluride SUVs and K5 gas-powered sedans.

Although EVs make up about 3% of car sales in the U.S., it is expected to grow exponentially as fuel and emission standards tighten and EV production costs decrease. Kemp and his predecessor, Governor Nathan Deal, aggressively targeted the sector.

In December, Rivian confirmed plans to build a $ 5 billion plant to assemble electric trucks, SUVs, vans and batteries at a location in Walton and Morgan counties. Rivian plans to hire 7,500 on a construction site along I-20 about an hour east of Atlanta.

Under the deal, the state hired an electric vehicle battery factory from the South Korean conglomerate SK Innovation in Jackson County, about an hour northeast of Atlanta along I-85. SK has contracts to produce batteries for Ford and Volkswagen.

The stimulus package that government officials would offer for Hyundai Motor Group’s expansion is not immediately clear, but it could counter the record $ 1.5 billion in negotiations for Rivian, which includes free land, grants, tax breaks, training to improve the center’s workforce. and infrastructure.

The incentives drew criticism from supervisors and locals who criticized the package as too generous, even though economic development officials framed it as necessary to launch a transformative project.

InvestigateState, local officials are offering $ 1.5 billion for the Rivian project

High-tech jobs, like Wisconsin’s big dreams for Foxconn a few years ago, don’t always work out.

Georgia would award public funds to two major car manufacturers in hopes of creating thousands of manufacturing jobs, transforming rural parts of the state and retaining the power of graduates from Georgia’s top colleges in the state.

Conventional carmakers such as Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Ford and General Motors are battling EV giant Tesla and a number of well-funded beginners such as Rivian and Lucid to perfect trailers and gain market share while analysts expect consumers to grow. bypass vehicles powered by internal combustion engines for those on batteries.

Last year, Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai and Kia brands, announced plans to invest $ 7.4 billion in the U.S. by 2025 to expand manufacturing capabilities and boost production of electric vehicles and other mobility technologies.

Hyundai operates an assembly plant near Montgomery, Alabama, where Automotive News recently reported that the company will build an electric crossover for its luxury brand Genesis.

Top real estate

In 2006, Kia announced plans to build its first U.S. plant in West Point near the Alabama border. During that time, the West Point plant has grown to more than 2,700 employees, and the company has attracted dozens of suppliers to the state, who collectively employ thousands more.

The factory opened in 2009, when Georgia was still trapped in a major recession and while West Point was still struggling with losses in the textile industry.

inscription arrowtitle

Part of Kia’s large factory in West Point.

Credits: Bita Honarvar

Part of Kia's large factory in West Point.

Credits: Bita Honarvar

inscription arrowtitle

Part of Kia’s large factory in West Point.

Credits: Bita Honarvar

Credits: Bita Honarvar

The plant has been a huge success for Kia and operates 24 hours a day in three shifts, producing 340,000 vehicles a year, according to the company. In 2021, Kia sold more than 700,000 vehicles in the U.S., nearly 20% more than the year before, according to Cox Automotive.

Hyundai Motor Group vehicles, which include Kiu, Hyundai and Genesis, accounted for nearly 10% of all cars sold in the U.S. last year, ranking fifth among major manufacturers, just ahead of Honda, according to Cox Automotive, which like AJC, is a division of Cox Enterprises.

InvestigateSome of the biggest deals in Georgia over the decades

It was not immediately clear which models could be assembled at this new factory in Georgia.

Hyundai sells Ioniq 5 and Kona electric crossovers and hybrid versions of its Tucson and Santa Fe crossovers.

Kia currently produces two fully electric vehicles – the EV6 crossover and the Niro EV based on the conventional model. Kia also sells hybrid versions of its Sorento, Niro and Sportage crossovers.

Kia is expected to continue operating at its current facility in West Point, a person familiar with the matter told AJC.

More than 2,200 acres of land in South Georgia being negotiated for a new factory, near the unincorporated city of Ellabella, is a vast area once offered by the state to several carmakers, including Rivian, Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover.

inscription arrowtitle

FILE – Governor Brian Kemp walks past a Rivian electric truck after announcing in Atlanta on Thursday, December 16, 2021, that electric truck maker Rivian Automotive will build a $ 5 billion battery and assembly plant east of Atlanta that is projected to employ 7,500 workers. The state announced on Monday, May 2, 2022, that it and local authorities had agreed to offer Rivian $ 1.5 billion in incentives to build an electric vehicle factory with 7,500 jobs and $ 5 billion. (AP Photo / John Bazemore, file)

Credit: John Bazemore

FILE - Governor Brian Kemp walks past a Rivian electric truck after announcing in Atlanta on Thursday, December 16, 2021, that electric truck maker Rivian Automotive will build a $ 5 billion battery and assembly plant east of Atlanta that is projected to employ 7,500 workers.  The state announced on Monday, May 2, 2022, that it and local authorities had agreed to offer Rivian $ 1.5 billion in incentives to build an electric vehicle factory with 7,500 jobs and $ 5 billion.  (AP Photo / John Bazemore, file)

Credit: John Bazemore

inscription arrowtitle

FILE – Governor Brian Kemp walks past a Rivian electric truck after announcing in Atlanta on Thursday, December 16, 2021, that electric truck maker Rivian Automotive will build a $ 5 billion battery and assembly plant east of Atlanta that is projected to employ 7,500 workers. The state announced on Monday, May 2, 2022, that it and local authorities had agreed to offer Rivian $ 1.5 billion in incentives to build an electric vehicle factory with 7,500 jobs and $ 5 billion. (AP Photo / John Bazemore, file)

Credit: John Bazemore

Credit: John Bazemore

Rivian has chosen a location between Social Circle and Rutledge instead. But Bryan County Megasite was seen as a tempting property for an electric vehicle factory or other industrial users.

The state of Georgia paid $ 61 million last July to buy an undeveloped property.

State Commissioner for Economic Development Pat Wilson, a major employer in Georgia, told the AJC last year that the property in Bryan County is worth the high price because its combination of advantages is not found anywhere else in the state.

The flat terrain is rocky and has direct road and rail links to Savannah and Brunswick.

The local co-development body had a place under contract for some time before Georgia stepped in with a grant to complete the sale.

Last year, Trip Tollison, executive director of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, told AJC that a number of smaller industrial parks near the new megasite would be good places for suppliers to the larger plant.

The rift of 2022

Georgia currently has record low unemployment. And much like Rivian, Hyundai Motor Group will bet with the state and supply its new factory to workers to make its assembly lines hum.

Rivian plans to hire 7,500 workers with an average salary of $ 56,000, according to an incentive package it has achieved with the state. The contract with Rivian is estimated at nearly $ 200,000 per deal.

inscription arrowtitle

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, speaks during the gubernatorial Republican primary debate with former Sen. David Perdue on Sunday, May 1, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson, Pool)

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, speaks during the gubernatorial Republican primary debate with former Sen. David Perdue on Sunday, May 1, 2022, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson, Pool)

Credit: Brynn Anderson

inscription arrowtitle

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, speaks during the gubernatorial Republican primary debate with former Sen. David Perdue on Sunday, May 1, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson, Pool)

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Credit: Brynn Anderson

The Rivian project has faced intense local rejection by a local network of nearby residents who say Kemp and other government officials have neglected buying from residents surrounding the area, about an hour east of Atlanta.

Kemp’s biggest Republican challenger, former U.S. Senator David Perdue, hesitated Kemp over the deal and the lucrative stimulus package. Kemp advertised the announcement as a seal of approval for his economic agenda ahead of the election.


Discovery Note

Cox Enterprises, owner of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, owns about a 4% stake in Rivian and provides services to the company. Sandy Schwartz, CEO of Cox overseeing the AJC, is on Rivian’s board of directors and personally holds the shares. Does not participate in AJC reporting on Rivian.

Leave a Comment