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Hyundai breaks ground on $1.5bn EV plant in Korea

A Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric vehicle is charged at Chaevi Stay Charging Station in Seoul, South Korea, on October 18, 2023

Hyundai Motor Co on Monday broke ground on a 2 trillion won ($1.52 billion) dedicated electric vehicle (EV) plant in South Korea, as the automaker accelerate a shift to electrification.

Hyundai Motor, the world’s No. 3 automaker by sales with its affiliate Kia Corp, plans to begin mass production of EVs from the plant in the first quarter of 2026 after completing construction in 2025.

The factory in Ulsan in the southeast of the country will have an annual capacity of 200,000 units and 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 EVs by 2030.

Hyundai Motor Group’s executive chair Euisun Chung, Hyundai Motor’s CEO and other officials, including the Ulsan Metropolitan City Mayor, attended the event to witness the ground breaking of the EV factory, the automaker’s first new plant in South Korea in 29 years. Hyundai’s Ulsan complex is its biggest manufacturing site.

The ground breaking comes after Hyundai Motor said it would stick to its EV rollout plans – a contrast to some rivals that have pulled back on EV production due to cooling demand.

Last year, Hyundai Motor Group broke ground on a $5.54 billion EV and battery plants in the US state of Georgia.

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

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 Co 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 Co is temporarily cutting one of three shifts at the plant that builds its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck.

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