US: Hyundai executive says additional North American factory an option image

The South Korean automaker’s leading US executive said the company was currently weighing in options for a new assembly facility – including the possibility of building the plant in North America as the company has to decided if it adds more global SUV capacity.

Dave Zuchowski, chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, says the decision has not been made yet, though he forecasts one to be ready in 2015, as the automaker needs to address its traditional production capacity constriction. The shortage has caused a slide in Hyundai’s US market share to rivals that can produce more SUVs locally. “We know that we need additional production capacity. Where that’s going to be we don’t know, but we’re much closer to a decision than we have been in the past,” commented Zuchowski in an interview taken on the floor of the New York auto show. “It’s widely recognized that the absence of more capacity in the crossover segments has hurt our market share.”

One of the options considered in the carmaker’s “big global chess game” would be whether to address Hyundai’s production shortage by adding a North American factory capable of relieving Kia’s own plant from building the Santa Fe SUV. They could also increase the total production capacity at Kia’s planned assembly facility being built in Mexico as we speak. The executive added that Hyundai plans to lift availability of its all-new Tucson crossover once the new generation enters US showrooms in late June or early July. Zuchowski forecasted they would seek additional inventory to meet a 50 percent surge in demand from the near-50,000 units sold in 2014.

Via Automotive News