Nfld. & Labrador

Capital Hyundai expansion shows confidence in economy: Premier Ball

The Capital Auto Group broke ground on Thursday, marking the beginning of a massive expansion for Capital Hyundai set to be completed by 2020.

Economy is rebounding 'region by region. It's happening industry by industry'

Ground broke at the new expansion location of Capital Hyundai Thursday morning, with Premier Dwight Ball and Mayor Danny Breen in attendance. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

The Capital Auto Group broke ground on Thursday, marking the beginning of a massive expansion for Capital Hyundai set to be completed by 2020 — a business expansion that drew Premier Dwight Ball, who boasted it was a good sign for the province's rebounding economy.

"It's happening region by region. It's happening industry by industry," Ball said from the groundbreaking ceremony in St. John's.

"Just this Tuesday we were in Labrador West, when we opened up Wabush 3 ... So this is all good news and it will be felt right throughout our province."

Ball said government had no role in the expansion, but said Capital Hyundai is remarkable for not only St. John's but for the entire province. 

The new dealership on Kenmount Road will be more than double its current size at over 68,000 square feet.

Premier Dwight Ball said the car dealership expansion is evidence of the province's rebounding economy. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

"I think the vote of confidence that you are seeing in where we are as a province right now is really starting to find it's way through all of Newfoundland and Labrador," Ball said.

"It is an exciting day, when you think of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador has the largest Hyundai dealership in Canada. Think about that. It's a great and remarkable day for all of us."  

More plans?

Frank Howard, president of Capital Hyundai said the growth and expansion of his business was four to five years in the making when he bought the land on Kenmount Road. He said Hyundai encouraged added investment into Capital.

"So of course the first step is to buy some property, which we've done, and this is where we're to today," Howard said. 

President of Capital Hyundai, Frank Howard said his company's expansion will double the jobs of his staff, from 75 to roughly 150. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

"We're ready to go. All the design work is all done, we're just waiting now to go to tender and hopefully get someone to build it nice and cheap for us," he laughed. 

Jobs will double to 150 local staff, and while Howard said he already has a plan for Capital Hyundai's current location — which will become the company's old location — he is not ready to disclose details yet. 

Auto industry potential risk

While Thursday's announcement was seen by politicians as a good one, there is a possible threat looming.

Don Romano, president and CEO of Hyundai Canada said Hyundai as a whole has expansion and growth plans, but added the entire industry is facing a risk with President Donald Trump threatening tariffs on several industries, including the auto one.

"We hope for a quick negotiated settlement so that we can get on with our business and our planning, but we can't worry about it, because whatever happens we have to look at it long term," Romano said. 

"We've been in business for over 30 years here in Canada, and we're going to be here for another 30 years ... The concern for everybody is not just the tariffs but the retaliatory actions that could take place, the impact on the overall economy."      

With files from Rob Antle

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