That record fell Friday as Kemp unveiled an even bigger EV facility, a Hyundai plant west of Savannah expected to create 8,100 jobs when fully built out, 600 more than the Rivian project announced in December. The project also will include a battery manufacturing facility.
"We are proud to welcome Hyundai Motor Group to Georgia as we forge an innovative future together," Kemp said during a signing ceremony at the plant site off Interstate 16 in Bryan County. "With this announcement ... we will continue working to make Georgia the premier destination for quality companies who are creating the jobs of today, tomorrow, and beyond.”
“The U.S. has always held an important place in [Hyundai Motor Group’s] global strategy," added Euisun Chung, executive chairman of the Korean auto manufacturer. "We are excited to partner with the state of Georgia to achieve our shared goal of electrified mobility and sustainability in the U.S.”
Hyundai will invest $5.54 billion in the new plant, and non-affiliated suppliers will invest another $1 billion.
State and local economic development leaders have been working on landing Hyundai for some time. The 2,923-acre "mega-site" was purchased jointly by the state and the Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority last year.
Kemp held initial conversations back in 2019, his first year in office, when he traveled to South Korea with top officials from the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., met with Chung and other Hyundai officials last November on a trip to South Korea.
"This multibillion-dollar opportunity for Georgia will create thousands of jobs and grow Georgia’s reputation as a world leader in automotive and clean energy manufacturing," Ossoff said Friday.
Hyundai expects to begin construction on the new plant in January, with full production expected in the first half of 2025. Wages for the advanced manufacturing jobs the plant will create will be competitive with the local market.
In choosing Georgia, Hyundai cited speed-to-market, workforce, and the state’s ability to meet the company’s carbon neutrality standards. Additionally, Georgia is home to an existing network of Hyundai subsidiaries and suppliers.
Kemp's second big economic development win in less than six months comes just days before the Republican governor faces former U.S. Sen. David Perdue in the GOP gubernatorial primary.
Perdue has criticized the $1.5 billion in incentives the state has committed to spend to lure Rivian to Georgia. During a recent debate, Kemp responded that the 7,500 jobs the Rivian plant is expected to create justify the level of incentives the state offered.