To cope with the demand for its US-built vehicles, Hyundai Motor Co. is considering transferring the production of its Santa Fe SUV to Kia Motor Corp., its sister company. The Santa Fe and the Sonata sedan were being built at Hyundai's Montgomery, Ala. plant, its sole plant in the US. In late 2009, Kia started operations for its own US factory in West Point, Ga. Robert Burns, a spokesman for Hyundai's manufacturing unit, said that this proposal is being considered in South Korea as a means to maximize the efficiency of these two plants.
For the month of April, Hyundai retailers were able to sell 18,536 US-built Sonatas and 5,917 Santa Fes from the plant. This figure almost hits the factory's monthly production capacity, and that's with this plant operating 10-hour shifts, including Saturdays.
Sales in April 2010 were up by 30% when compared to sales for the same month in the previous year. Kia Sorento SUV, which shares some components and US suppliers with the Santa Fe, is built in Kia's US plant. Meanwhile, the Sorento is in demand as well. Since the Georgia plant opened less than six months ago, it has built more than 50,000 Sorentos.[via autonews - sub. required]