Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced Friday Hyundai Motor GroupThe company plans to invest $5.5 billion to build an electric vehicle and battery plant near Savannah, which he says is the largest economic development project in the state’s history.
“We’re very excited – it’s huge,” Kemp told Fox Businesssaying the project is expected to bring more than 8,100 jobs to the Georgian coast.
Hyundai Motor President and CEO Jaehoon Chang and other South Korean executives join Kemp automobile manufacturer At a signing ceremony Friday afternoon in Blaine County, the plant will be located on a massive 2,923-acre site purchased by the state with the local four-county economic development agency.
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Hyundai, which also owns Kia, announced last year that it would invest more than $7 billion in the U.S. by 2025, reporting that Georgia will be the location The company’s major projects have been in the news for some time. Last week, an unnamed U.S. official said the news could come during President Biden’s May 20-21 trip to South Korea.
Kemp said his office had no ties to the White House and that the Georgia deal had been in the works for several months.
“Obviously, this was a program that competed with several other states and ended up on the shortlist,” the governor said. “The deal has been cemented for a few weeks, and we’ve just gotten to the point where the company is willing to announce it.”
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Hyundai announced in a press release Georgia “This investment is in line with the U.S. government’s roadmap to accelerate electrification,” the project said, noting that the Biden administration’s goal is for electric vehicles to account for 50 percent of all new U.S. new vehicle sales by the end of the century.
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“As the U.S. increases EV and battery production capacity, the company aims to become one of the top three U.S. EV suppliers by 2026,” Hyundai wrote in the statement.
The Hyundai Factory comes less than a year after Rivian Automotive announced plans to build a $5 billion factory outside Atlanta that is expected to employ 7,500 people. The deal was previously the largest in state history and involved $1.5 billion in incentives from state and local governments.
The timing of Hyundai’s announcement could also give Kemp a boost ahead of Tuesday’s primary, where he faces challenges from multiple fellow Republicans, including former Senator David Perdue.
Perdue opposed the Rivian deal and said many residents around the site did not want large facilities as neighbors.
In response to the criticism, Kemp said, “I’m creating jobs in rural Georgia, which is exactly what we’ve done with the Rivian plant, and that’s exactly what we’ve done with the modern day.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.