Hyundai to add third shift at Ala. plant to boost Sonata, Elantra output

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 2, 2012

Hyundai Motor Co. intends to implement a third production shift beginning in September at its Montgomery facility in Alabama in an effort to boost supplies of the compact Elantra and Sonata mid-sized sedan. An additional 20,000 automobiles will be produced at the plant by the end of 2012 due to the additional shift, the company disclosed. 

Hyundai also revealed that it will add 877 workers for the new shift. This increases employment at the facility to at least 3,000 workers.

 Hyundai is aiming to increase U.S. retail sales level by 100,000 automobiles in 2012, even as its car inventories are among the leanest in the auto industry. CEO John Krafcik at Hyundai Motor America commented that it is "definitely going to help us get there." 

The sales of Hyundai in the United States increased 15% to 163,573 vehicles in 2012 through March. Meanwhile, the sales of Hyundai's bestselling Sonata model have increased 6% this year.

Demand for the company's second bestseller -- the Elantra -- has risen 8%. According to Krafcik, the automaker had no intentions to add an automobile at the facility in Alabama. In 2011, Hyundai manufactured 338,127 cars at the plant.

The Fluid Sculpture design principle of Hyundai is best seen in the new Hyundai Elantra. This specific design principle revolves around the artful interaction of the wind’s static fluidity with solid surfaces, a playful interpretation of the science of aerodynamics. It is from this innovative interpretation of aerodynamics that the wonderfully sculpted body of the Elantra was actually based on. Interestingly, this compact car’s design evolved from the Hyundai Sonata’s design characteristics.

It is important to note that in the U.S., sedans which became bestsellers possessed a distinct, unmistakably recognizable profile and the Day Light Opening (DLO-designer’s technical term for the side glass), which is also the case for the Hyundai Elantra. With smooth, flowing lines along its sides, clearly visible undercut accent lines, a sleek roofline and powerful wheel arches, the new Elantra is an aerodynamic and aesthetic masterpiece in its category. And as a result of the excellent aerodynamic design of its body, the Elantra’s airflow drag coefficient is a remarkably low 0.28, which is at par with that of the Chevrolet Volt’s 0.29.

Viewed from the front, the Hyundai Elantra’s unique hexagonal grille and its sleek, stealth-like headlights provide the sedan with an imposing, robust facade. Its peculiarly captivating posture is further complimented by either 15, 16 or 17-inch alloy wheels which contributes to the Elantra’s strong yet sleek character. The new Elantra, which was completely designed at Hyundai’s North American Design Center in Irvine, California, also has as optional accessories, well-designed fog lights and side mirrors with LED repeaters.


An all-new 1.8-liter Nu four-cylinder engine, generating 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque (145 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque for the Elantra PZEV), powers the new Hyundai Elantra. This Nu engine was developed specifically to replace the original and bigger 2.0-liter Beta engine of its predecessor. The smaller-sized engine of the new Elantra is 74 pounds lighter and allows the new Elantra to achieve a higher fuel efficiency by lowering its fuel consumption by 18 per cent for highway driving.

Moreover, Hyundai’s technologically advanced engine, with impressively low emission levels, allows the Elantras sold in California, Oregon and other northeast states to be certified by the EPA as a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV). When assessed outside the green states, the certification of the new Elantra even becomes more impressive, as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) rating is given!

The PZEV and ULEV ratings given to the new Hyundai Elantra makes it as clean as its hybrid electric vehicle counterparts! This is yet another impressive achievement for Hyundai, in its crusade for a greener, less polluted Earth.

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