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Hyundai owns five percent of the U.S. retail market share, but it's trying to maintain that number with razor-thin inventory levels. According to The Detroit Free Press, the situation has forced the automaker to cut back on fleet sales and pump out every vehicle it can from its Alabama assembly plant, which is prepping a third shift in the fall.


Less than a month ago, Hyundai announced it would be adding a third shift at its Alabama assembly plant, resulting in an additional 877 jobs. You'd imagine with Alabama running a 7.2-percent unemployment rate in April – ranking right in the middle of the 50 states – competition for those jobs would be pretty serious. But nobody, least of all Hyundai, expected this. As of May 22, the automaker had received some 18,500 applications, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.


Hyundai, one of the largest employers in the state of Alabama, has been urged by a group of 15 civil rights organizations and labor unions, including the United Auto Workers and NAACP, to help overturn Alabama's immigration law.


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.


To understand just how far Hyundai has come in the past few years, look no further than the Sonata. The smartly styled sedan has earned attention and praise with fantastic efficiency and reliability, but we shouldn't forget that the last generation Sonata was a big step forward as well.


Officially confirming what we've all but known for some time now, Kia announced this morning that its West Point, Georgia plant will add a second vehicle to its production line, the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The move will also be paired with the addition of a second shift beginning October 1, although limited production of the Santa Fe is earmarked to ramp-up on September 27.

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