WITH THE RECENT OPENING OF ITS NEW PRODUCTION PLANT IN BRAZIL, HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY MAY HAVE COMPLETED ITS GLOBAL STRATEGY TO STRENGTHEN ITS PRESENCE IN THE WORLD’S AUTOMOTIVE MARKETS, WRITES OLAOLU OLUSINA
Hyundai Motor Brasil (HMB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) , has opened its new production plant in Brasil.
Observers are of the view that with the recent opening of the massive facility, the company may have completed its global strategy to strengthen its presence in the world’s major automotive markets.
Present at the landmark opening ceremony, according to a statement from the company, were over 500 Brazilian and Korean dignitaries, company executives and the media , including Mong-Koo Chung, Chairman of Hyundai Motor; Michel Temer, Vice President of Brazil; Fernando Pimentel, Minister of Development; Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of Sao Paulo state; Barjas Negri, Mayor of Piracicaba; and Bon-woo Koo, Korean ambassador to Brazil.
The new plant is Hyundai’s seventh manufacturing base outside of Korea and will have a production capacity of 150,000 units a year. The plant, which is located in Piracicaba, 160 km northwest of Sao Paulo city, is built on a 1.39 million square metre site, while the plant has a floor space of 69,000 square metres, featuring complete vehicle production facilities such as stamping, welding, painting, assembly and module lines. Hyundai applied the latest civil engineering skills to the construction of the plant, which took 25 months to build.
According to the statement, Hyundai, which invested a total of US$700 million in the manufacturing plant, will produce three models exclusively developed for Brazil, one of the world’s top five auto markets. It added that production of the first model, the HB20 hatchback, 2013 Brazilian Car of the Year, began on September 20.
“We successfully completed the construction of the plant, thanks to the great support led by the Brazilian government,” Chairman of Hyundai Motor, Chung, was quoted as saying during the ceremony held at the plant site. “I hope friendly relations between our two nations are strengthened through the opening of our plant. Hyundai Motor plans to contribute to Brazil’s auto industry and the local community by creating new jobs and actively supporting local parts suppliers.”
”The new plant incorporates key advanced technologies to efficiently produce high-quality vehicles: HMB is Hyundai’s first overseas plant to adopt a “one-kit” supply system, where a full kit containing all the parts necessary to build a whole model moves along with the vehicle on the assembly line. This prevents any errors in the assembly process. Furthermore, the entire welding process is fully automated, using about 100 robots.
“When compared to traditional assembly lines, the advantages of this process are in the easy handling of the materials, lower presence of industrial vehicles in the production line and debugging. The assembly line team member receives the correct part – both in terms of specification and quantity – right at their work station,” said Eugênio Cesare, HMB’s Production General Manager.
Expected to boost sales and create more jobs, the plant will produce the HB family of cars, which consist of the hatchback HB20, which won the 2013 Brazilian Car of the Year award on Nov. 7; the crossover HB20X, unveiled at the 2012 Sao Paulo International Motor Show; and a sedan version, all dedicated to the local market.
Initial market response to the HB20, which officially began sales in October, has been explosive, far exceeding this year’s production capacity of 26,000 units. Together with Hyundai’s other imported models, the company’s annual sales for this year is expected to reach 85,000 units. The plant will reach its full production capacity of 150,000 units next year, with total Brazil sales expected to reach 200,000 units.
Hyundai set up a dedicated dealer network for the HB family, to maximise customers’ convenience. The automaker has opened about 120 exclusive dealerships across Brazil, with plans to expand to 180 by this year and 200 by the end of 2013. The new plant in Brasil will initially employ 1,800 workers, reaching 2,000 by 2013. Hyundai’s eight partners will also employ 3,000 workers, directly creating a total of 5,000 jobs. Additionally, the plant will generate 20,000 indirect jobs in the community, local officials estimate.