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MAY 2004
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'Most Aggressive Schedule Ever'

Since the company's 2002 announcement, local sales of Hyundai vehicles have doubled. More importantly, the number of suppliers locating in Alabama has been double what Hyundai originally projected.
Since April 2, 2002, an entire region of south-central Alabama has been transformed. By 2005, more than 1,000 Hyundai employees will have undergone extensive training by Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), the state agency responsible for screening the 11,000 workers who applied for the 1,600 full-time factory jobs.
        "AIDT is doing more than just finding and training workers for Hyundai," said Kim. "They are assisting many of the Tier One and Tier Two suppliers locating in Alabama."
        Originally, Hyundai had anticipated that 12 to 15 suppliers would locate in Alabama. Since 2002, that number has grown to 29 suppliers who are investing $500 million and creating 4,000 jobs in the state. Most are Korean companies doing business for the first time in the U.S.
        When combined with HMMA's investment, "that equals more than 6,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in investment," Kim said.
        The timeline, from concept to production, is aggressive. Trial production of the next-generation Hyundai Sonata sedan begins in July. By March 2005, commercial vehicle production begins. Production of the next-generation Santa Fe SUV begins in early 2006. By 2007, the Montgomery plant will be operating at full capacity, producing 300,000 cars and trucks per year and employing 2,000 full-time workers.
        The project is one of the largest construction sites in Alabama history and the first auto plant south of Interstate 20. With a plant spread over 1,744 acres (706 hectares), the site is comparable to a small city.
        David Hutchison, director of recruitment for the Alabama Development Office, says, "If Hyundai gets up and running in 18 months, it will be the most aggressive schedule we have ever had."
        Some 304 HMMA team members currently work at the plant. By 2005, their ranks will swell to 1,000. Job seekers hail from every county in Alabama.
        Production team members will be paid an average hourly wage of $14, escalating to $21 an hour after two years on the job. Maintenance team members will be paid $18.50 an hour and see their pay increase to $24 an hour in 24 months.
        A total of 18 separate AIDT training sessions will train 2,736 potential Alabama workers for HMMA in the on-site 70,000-sq.-ft. (6,503-sq.-m.) training center built and paid for by the state.
        RUST Contractors of Alabama is the construction manager for the project, and 29 of the 40 construction firms hired by RUST are from Alabama. More than 500 construction jobs are still to be assigned on the project.
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