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Will Kia build Apple's electric cars at their Georgia factory?

It is beginning to look that way:

How does the story end? I’m not a subscriber.

Is this expanded production? Kia already has a plant in West Point, Georgia, building the Telluride, Sorrento, and Optima. It’s nice to see jobs in a rural area.

Nor am I, but here are some other articles that you may be able to access in full:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-05/apple-talks-with-hyundai-kia-on-electric-car-paused-recently

If Kia keeps expanding this plant and suppliers locate nearby, West Point will be the Big City soon!

That is pretty normal for the car industry in the US these days. Car plants take up a lot of space not normally available in cities. A collection of small towns usually has farmers kids that won’t go into farming so they are looking for jobs so they can stay in the area. Taxes are usually lower in the county or eliminated for a number of years to attract them.

Honda did this in Ohio when the started building bikes and then cars. Toyota in Georgetown KY as their greenfield plant after Fremont, CA. Hyundai in Alabama, BMW in Spartenburg, and more. It just works.

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+1
Subaru opened their factory in Lafayette, Indiana in 1987, and it led to much higher employment and the expansion of housing in the area. Originally, it was a joint venture with Isuzu, but when Isuzu’s prospects in North America went belly-up, Subaru bought-out Isuzu’s share.

This is the same factory where Subaru was assembling Toyota Camrys for several years until Subaru sales jumped so dramatically that they had to evict Toyota in order to be able to build enough Outbacks and Legacy sedans for the North American market.

Who is making the batteries? Have not read anything about the design of the batteries. Hmm, Apple battery? Like an iPhone?

I am. It doesn’t say much except to summarize that Hyundai reported and then downplayed the discussions with Apple, Apple never confirmed it, and Apple had been reaching out to suppliers.

That said, the project has gone through different iterations since 2015, when they started thinking about entering the car biz and then shifted to self-driving, and then back again.

Hyundai’s stock went bonkers in Korea because they’re taking it to mean the deal is going to happen.

The article then notes that all the manufacturers are trying to play up their green cred because they’re facing market pressure to go electric because the Chinese market is heading in that direction. Cites GM’s promise to go green by 2035. Also notes that nobody knows if these investments in R&D for car tech will go anywhere, since Apple previously wanted to produce tv’s but eventually went with content vs. a device.

So…lots of anonymous sourcing but seems sort of optimistic that they’ll be doing this work in Georgia, which will also require some investment on Hyundai’s part.

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You still have to be close enough to a larger metropolitan area to draw talent/people from. I’ve worked for large corporations (DEC, GE. Western Electric) that ran into this problem. These plants will hire thousands of people. Besides people they need power (lots of power). One criteria has always been to build near a high voltage power supply. Running one of those lines is extremely expensive.

My last company had that problem. They were headquartered in a town of 3500 and employed 2700 just in that town… half from neighboring towns. Every one of their manufacturing plants were located in similar agricultural towns in their home and a neighboring state.

Plant workers were not usually an issue, unless they were welders… they never laid off a welder. Attracting technical and managerial talent was a constant problem and many, like myself, had long commutes from the nearby “city” of 25,000.

The upside was a very loyal workforce, both from the attitudes of rural workers and the relative lack of similar employment nearby. They also didn’t have to pay them as much as the big cities since cost of living was lower and because of little competition for jobs.

The downside was a lack of candidates in highly technical skill areas. Software and systems being the toughest to find. One additional problem… working spouses. Either the company hired the spouse as well, or they worked from home, or they didn’t work. The “all your eggs in one basket” situation with both spouses at the same company.

I set up an R&D facility 50 minutes away in a suburb of the nearby metro area with 500K + population partially to run a state sponsored program and partially to attract those skills that would not move to Cornfield County, as some called it. The culture just could not let it continue and pulled them back to the “mother ship” after I left. They lost a few really talented people that cratered some very cool potential products.

Power wasn’t an issue as there were main lines running right over the towns.

West Point is 1hr20min SW of Atlanta on the interstate. It could be a reasonable commute for someone in a SW suburb or exurb of Atlanta. It’s a lot like the Spartanburg-Charlotte relationship. Certainly rural enough for lower real estate values, but close enough for occasional visits for entertainment and shopping, assuming we are allowed to do those things again. :wink:

Now, it appears that the earlier report was… premature:

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But they are talking to somebody about EVs. Now we can start rumors about who Hyundai is really working with! :grin:

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