Kia announced Wednesday that it will invest $200 million at its Georgia plant to start producing electric SUVs.
Kia said it would hire an additional 200 workers to begin production of the large EV9 at West Point by early 2024. The company said it would expand overall production at its plant near the Alabama state line southwest of Atlanta. Kia said the plant currently produces 340,000 vehicles a year, including the Telluride, Sorrento and Sportage SUVs, as well as the K5 sedan.
The Kia factory employs 3,000 people. Spokesman Patrick Sands said the EV9 will be produced on the same assembly line as other vehicles, and Kia is investing in assembling the electric powertrain.
Kia’s parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, is making a big push into electric vehicles. Hyundai is gearing up to build a $5.5 billion factory to assemble electric vehicles and batteries in Elabel, Ga., near Savannah. The company is also investing $300 million at its Montgomery, Alabama plant to begin building electric vehicles there, starting with the Genesis Electrified GV70 SUV. Hyundai also hired 200 additional workers for the Alabama investment.
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Kia leaders say they hope the three-row EV9 will benefit company sales in the same way it did for the brand after the large Telluride began rolling off the assembly line at West Point in 2019. Kia started offering the EV9 to South Korean customers last month.
“Like Telluride, the EV9 has the potential to be another catalyst for change for Kia,” Sean Yoon, president and CEO of Kia Motors America, said in a statement. stand out. “
The investment comes amid complaints from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Hyundai Motor that the federal electric vehicle tax credit is unfair to the South Korean manufacturer because its vehicles are only eligible if they are leased. The domestic content standard of the Inflation Reduction Act injected billions of dollars in subsidies for electric vehicles, and the purchase of electric vehicles is only eligible for tax benefits if the vehicles, batteries and key raw materials in the batteries are all manufactured in the United States.
Hyundai announced it will partner on a battery plant in Cartersville, northwest of Atlanta.
Georgia has been the biggest beneficiary of the nation’s EV investment boom, with more than 40 EV-related projects since 2020, committing $22.9 billion and creating 28,600 jobs in the state. Kemp said he and other Georgia officials should be commended, while Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff argued that President Joe Biden’s policies are driving economic prosperity.
Georgia will pay for Kia’s expansion to train workers. The company says on its website that production workers start at $38,000 a year, with pay increases and night shift increases.
Kia is eligible for a $1.75 million state income tax credit, or $1,750 per job over five years, as long as workers make at least $31,300 a year. The company may be eligible for other incentives, including West Point and Troup County property tax breaks.
Kia received more than $450 million in awards for its West Point factory, which opened in 2010. In 2019, Kia, its affiliates and suppliers received just $2.8 million in property tax deductions from the city, according to West Point’s financial statements.
First published date: Jul 13, 2023 09:04 AM EST