Why is this man smiling? Well, it could be because hotcakes only wish they were selling as well as Hyundais. Or perhaps that grin says he knows something we don't – like when and where his company plans to build a second North American assembly plant.
Yet Hyundai CEO John Krafcik told reporters last week that the Korean-based automaker has no plans to expand its U.S. production, which is currently running at literally 110 percent. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama has the capacity to build 300,000 Elantra and Sonata models, a number that's been boosted by another 30,000 units this year by way of increased efficiencies. (Hyundai is also getting Sante Fe crossovers from corporate cousin Kia, which operates a plant in Georgia).
Despite the boost in production, Hyundai inventory levels dipped to an extremely low 21 days supply this summer, even as sales continued to grow. Hyundai has already blown past its 2010 numbers, and year-to-date sales are up 21 percent.
This leads Edmunds AutoObserver.com to conclude that it isn't necessarily buying Krafcik's no-new-factories line. "It seems inevitable Hyundai must address its stretched-to-the-max production," says the report, which predicts that Hyundai will announce a plan for U.S. expansion early next year.