With Hyundai Motor America President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Zuchowski on the stage at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the company’s Montgomery manufacturing facility moved into the auto show spotlight through a video connection that linked the CEO with a plant official.
Just before the reveal, Zuchowski conversed with Chris Susock, director of quality operations at the Alabama plant, and asked him what made it possible for the facility to deliver the all new Sonata.
“It’s with an outstanding, world-class workforce, along with a very supportive community right here in Montgomery, Alabama,” Susock replied.
Susock told Zuchowski that the Alabama factory implemented many quality initiatives as it ramped up to manufacture the redesigned Sonata. He added that 500 test models were produced, and Montgomery workers put them through 1 million miles of real-world driving trials.
When Susock turned to workers surrounding the new Sonata at the Alabama plant and asked them what they thought of the vehicle, they gave him a rousing cheer.
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, who was in New York for the event, said the unveiling of the redesigned Sonata represents another milestone for the state’s expanding auto industry. Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Honda produced a record annual output topping 915,000 vehicles last year.
“The unveiling of the newly redesigned Sonata is an exciting moment for Hyundai and its Alabama assembly plant, as well as for Team Alabama, the company’s support system in the state,” Canfield said. “We believe the new Sonata will be a great success, which will secure the future for Hyundai in Montgomery and further tighten the bonds between Alabama and the automaker.”
The Sonata, a consistent top-seller for Hyundai in the U.S., has been produced in Montgomery since the plant opened in 2005. The 3.2 million-square-foot factory also makes the Elantra sub-compact. The facility operates three shifts, turning out 1,500 vehicles a day – one Hyundai every 43 seconds, according to the company. (Read an article on activity at the Alabama plant.)
The new Sonata will be available this summer. Zuchowski said the 2015 model includes a number of engineering and technology improvements, along with many design touches that are shared with the automaker’s Genesis luxury sedan.
“Bottom line, it’s a more advanced Sonata in every possible way,” Zuchowski said.