GM, Hyundai said to be announcing U.S. auto plant investment
CEO Mary Barra said last week GM wouldn't change where it produces small cars
General Motors will announce a $1 billion US investment in its factories that will create or keep around 1,000 jobs, a person briefed on the matter said Monday.
The Detroit automaker will make the announcement Tuesday morning. The investment is part of the normal process of equipping factories to build new models, and it's been planned for months, the person told The Associated Press. The person didn't want to be identified because the announcement hasn't been made yet.
Multiple factories will get part of the money, but GM does not plan to state where the new jobs will go, according to the person. The company plans to use the announcement to tout both blue-collar and white-collar U.S. jobs it has created in recent years, the person said.
The announcement comes after president-elect Donald Trump has attacked GM and other automakers for building vehicles in Mexico and shipping them to the U.S.
Earlier this month, Trump threatened on Twitter to tax GM for importing the compact Chevrolet Cruze. While GM builds hatchback Cruzes in Mexico, most Cruze sales are Ohio-built sedans.
On the eve of the Detroit auto show press days last week, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company has no plans to change where it produces small cars due to Trump's threats.
Barra said the auto business has long lead times for where it produces vehicles, with decisions are made two to four years ahead.
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Hyundai has factories in Georgia, Alabama
Barra, who is part of a Trump economic advisory group, said it's too early to talk about a possible tariff. She said the company has more in common with Trump's goals on trade and jobs than differences.
Meanwhile, Hyundai said it will increase its investment in the U.S. while Trump is president and it is considering building a new U.S. factory.
Chung Jin Haeng, a president of the world's fifth-largest automotive group, said Tuesday that Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and their affiliated companies will spend $3.1 billion US during the five years through 2021 on research and development and maintaining their factories in Alabama and Georgia.
That represents a 50 per cent increase from 2.1 billion won the companies invested in the U.S. in 2012-2016.
Chung said Hyundai will study building a new U.S. factory if demand for cars rises during Trump's administration.
The South Korean group does not usually disclose its five-year investment plan for specific countries.
He denied that political pressure was behind the company's announcement of its U.S. investment plan.
"The U.S. market is strategically important for us," he said. "Success or the failure in the U.S. market is a measure of global success."
Nearly all automakers build small cars in Mexico to take advantage of its lower wages.
Hyundai is not an exception. When Kia's first Mexico plant launched operations just two months before the Nov. 8 election, the group said about 80 per cent of the vehicles assembled there will be exported mainly to the United States and other countries. The plant has a capacity to turn out 400,000 cars per year.
That Mexico plant is now "a source of worry" for the carmaker, Chung said, without elaborating why. He said Hyundai does not plan additional investments in Mexico.