Monday, May 20, 2024

Korean EV supplier breaks ground on new plant in northern Mexico

Korean electric motor manufacturer Seojin Mobility will invest US $300 million in its first Mexico plant, which is now under construction in the northern state of Nuevo León.

Reforma newspaper reported that the first stage of construction is expected to be completed by February 2025 at a cost of $200 million, while the second $100 million phase will involve the construction of hybrid motors. The Korean electric vehicle (EV) supplier anticipates the plant, once operational, will create 300 jobs.

Byung Hyuk Kang, general director of Seojin Mobility México, and José Antonio Quiroga, the local municipal president, presided over the groundbreaking ceremony on March 28 in the city of Escobedo, just north of Monterrey.

Byung Hyuk told reporters that Seojin Mobility will build motors for electric vehicles for the Hyundai plant in Savannah, Georgia, and has plans to collaborate with Kia Motors’ operations in the city of Pesquería, 36 kilometers west of Escobedo.

When asked if Seojin would build motors for the Tesla plant in Santa Catarina (27 kilometers southwest of Escobedo), Byung Hyuk said that is unlikely, though not impossible.

“We will be focusing on four Hyundai models in the United States,” he said, explaining that the company also hopes to work with Kia. “[Kia] has a plan for a small model electric vehicle in 2025.”

Hyundai electric SUV
Seojin Mobility will make motors at its Mexico plant for Hyundai electric vehicles that are made in the United States. (Hyundai)

Seojin Mobility, headquartered in Siheung, South Korea, is the primary supplier for Hyundai and Kia and also has contracts with GM, Renault, Ferrari and Volvo. Still, the proximity of the Tesla plant presents several advantages.

“With Tesla being nearby, we might find an opportunity to develop [new] products,” Byung Hyuk admitted, while emphasizing the new plant will serve to strengthen Seojin’s association with Hyundai and Kia México and develop the local electric vehicle market.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, the Seojin director said the company chose Escobedo for its location (near the industrial center of Monterrey and just 150 miles from Laredo, Texas) and the presence of a qualified workforce.

“Escobedo has been preparing to take advantage of nearshoring, creating an industrial district,” Quiroga said of the municipality’s development plan, which includes the construction of two hotels at a cost of $1 billion. “We are pleased that companies such as [Seojin Mobility] are coming to settle in our municipality.”

With reports from El Economista and Reforma

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