Hyundai Motor is going to start making its Santa Cruz pickup trucks at its U.S. factory in 2021, with an investment of about $410 million, as it looks forward to a foothold in the popular, but highly competitive, sector led by U.S. competitors.
The Alabama factory expansion was declared as President Donald Trump is expected this week to announce against a self-imposed deadline on whether to impose tariffs of up to 25% on imported cars and parts.
Hyundai has invested over $1.1 billion in the Montgomery region in the last 18 months, with the recent move expected to bring 200 new jobs and 1,000 people employed by regional providers and logistics companies.
The factory, which started production in 2005, was Hyundai’s first assembly and manufacturing plant in the United States and now has about 2,900 full-time and 500 part-time workers.
Hyundai, whose late reply to the SUV market took a heavy toll on its sales in the United States, China, and other countries, has broadened its SUV offerings in recent times.
The Santa Cruz pickup truck, introduced as a concept vehicle four years earlier, will be it’s first for the U.S. market, joining three models – the Sonata, Elantra sedans and the Santa Fe SUV, now built in its only U.S. factory.
In 2018, the United States and South Korea agreed to modify a trade pact significantly criticized by Trump, striking a deal to expand U.S. tariffs on Korean-made pickup trucks by 20 years, until 2041.