Production of Hyundai Motor America's Santa Fe crossover will be transferred to the West Point, Georgia plant of corporate cousin Kia Motors America. Hyundai is doing this in order to free up production for the more popular Hyundai Sonatas in Alabama.
A source said that Kia's plant has hired more workers to produce the Santa Fe on a second production line. Hyundai's Montgomery, Ala., plant, currently builds the Santa Fe and the Sonata sedan.
The demand for the Sonata has been so high that this plant has been forced to run on maximum overtime for months now.
In an interview earlier this month, Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai's US sales boss, said that its "biggest problem" is that it can't make enough cars. Hyundai faced the challenge of making sure that its dealers have enough Sonatas without having to import from South Korea.
So far this year, Hyundai has sold 107,085 units through July. For the same period in 2009, Hyundai sold 73,862.
Kia's Georgia plant currently only builds the 2011 Sorento SUV, which has the same platform as the Santa Fe. The Automotive News Data Center said that Kia built an estimated 69,332 units at the plant through Aug. 21.