Hyundai sales are up 10 percent already this year, after ending 2011 on a 20-percent uptick. With its Alabama assembly plant already running over capacity, something had to change. In response, the Korean automaker will be adding 877 jobs at its Montgomery assembly plant to begin a third shift, starting in September 2012.

Hyundai said the plant is now responsible for creating over 3,000 total jobs, with the latest expansion adding some 20,000 units of annual capacity this year. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama builds both the Sonata and Elantra sedans.

While this move will work as a short-term solution to Hyundai's capacity restraints, if the company continues to grow sales as it has in the past few years, it will soon be faced with the necessity of building another new production facility, as has been rumored for months.

Scroll down to read the full press release.

UPDATE: The third shift will actually give Hyundai 20,000 more cars to sell in 2012, but its effect on the plant's annual capacity will be much larger. While Hyundai would not specify what HMMA's total annual capacity running all three shifts would be, we would expect it to hit 385,000. The plant was originally slated to produce 300,000 vehicles, but Hyundai had managed to increase production by an extra 25,000 before adding the third shift.
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Strategy will increase 2012 production capacity by 20,000 units

Montgomery, Ala., April 30, 2012 -- Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC (HMMA) today announced plans to add a third shift of production at its Montgomery facility. HMMA will add 877 positions to support the addition of the third shift bringing the total number of jobs created at the plant to more than 3,000. HMMA's 2012 production capacity will increase by approximately 20,000 units.

"The continued success of Hyundai's Sonata and Elantra in North America is a direct reflection of the dedication to quality and craftsmanship by every HMMA team member," said Young Deuk Lim, HMMA president and chief executive officer. "This commitment is the key reason Hyundai Motor Company chose to continue to invest in the people of Alabama and increase vehicle production in Montgomery."

The transition to three shifts will begin in September 2012. Job applications and pre-employment training will begin this summer. The hiring process will be facilitated by Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT). The increased volume at HMMA will also create more jobs at nearby suppliers.

HMMA began producing the newly redesigned Sonata in December 2009, and the sedan has consistently been Hyundai's best-selling vehicle. The Alabama-built Sonata represents 33 percent of Hyundai's U.S. sales. The newly redesigned Elantra has been assembled at HMMA since October 2010 and, together with production from Korea, represents 31 percent of Hyundai's U.S. sales. Canadian sales of the Sonata and Elantra account for more than 14 percent of HMMA's annual production.

Hyundai Motor America sales were up 20 percent during 2011. The announcement of additional U.S. production capacity comes as Hyundai's U.S. sales broke an all-time sales record in March 2012. Through March 2012, sales of the Sonata and Elantra sedans have already seen year-over-year sales increase of six percent and eight percent, respectively, which is above the record levels set during 2011.

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