Hyundai says it's firmly a California citizen this morning with the announcement of a new headquarters building in Orange County, Calif.
Hyundai has been in Orange County since 1985, when it launched the brand in America with the Excel compact.
The Korean automaker says it will spend $150 million to construct new offices on its existing compound in Fountain Valley, Calif. The project is expected to take two years, and will almost double the automaker's available space, giving it room for 1400 employees versus today's 700 desks.
"This investment ensures that Orange County will remain Hyundai's U.S. hub, with our headquarters in Fountain Valley, for the foreseeable future," said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. "The new building will give us the flexibility to grow with our brand, reflect our modern design sensibility, and showcase our commitment to sustainability."
Hyundai also says its employees will have to move to temporary offices while the existing structures are replaced with the new building--which will be LEED-certified, in fitting with Hyundai's goal to remain the most fuel-efficient automaker in the U.S. and to hit an aggressive fleet fuel-economy target of 50 mpg by 2025.
At its California offices, Hyundai product planners and management are responsible for adapting products developed by their Korean counterparts for the U.S. market, and in some cases -- as with the 2011 Hyundai Sonata -- for working with Hyundai manufacturing in Alabama to engineer products for assembly.
Hyundai has been one of only a handful of automakers to increase sales and market share in the current recession. The new Sonata has doubled sales; the 2011 Equus launches this fall as a competitor for the Lexus LS range; and a new 2011 Elantra compact sedan is due late this year, to be joined by a sporty car based on the same architecture, and previewed as the Veloster concept.