By on September 25, 2009

OK, there's a pea underneath one of these artist renderings of our future factory... (courtesy:alabama live)

Hybrid Kinetic (HK) Motors and its chairman, former Brilliance chairman Yung Yeung, have announced plans to build a massive car plant in Baldwin County, Alabama in order to begin production of its fuel efficient vehicles by 2013. The $1.5b plant will produce 300,000 units per year and employ 5,000 Alabamans when it comes online with eventual production planned at one million units per year, according to a release from the Alabama governor’s office. A “full report” from Alabama Live states:

All the HK Motors vehicles will feature a 1.5-liter engine, but despite the engine’s size, the hybrid power sources will allow it to generate up to 400 horsepower, according to C.T. Wang, chief executive of HK Motors.

They will get at least 45 miles per gallon, Wang said, and the plug-in vehicle planned by the carmaker can go 600 miles on a single charge.

OK, is this starting to sound a bit strange? It probably should. The exact same scenario is playing out in Mississippi, where another former Brilliance boss is also building a huge, mysterious auto factory in the face of massive auto production overcapacity. Guess what else the factories have in common?

[Fundraising] will rely heavily on the U.S. government’s EB-5 program, which trades U.S. visas for $1 million invested in the U.S., or $500,000 in rural and high-unemployment areas.

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28 Comments on “Alabama Rolls the Hybrid Kinetic Dice...”


  • avatar

    As a former resident of Baldwin County I hope this project will be a success. I would be more comfortable if this were an established company with a proven technology.

  • avatar
    zaitcev

    The modern slave traders, that’s cute. Although I have to say my own master didn’t mistreat me in any way during the length of my… ahem… employment and even held up his end of the bargain (that is, sponsor the Green Card paperwork), it was back then and it was with a small company. An operator on the scale mentioned in this entry is going to be a different business entirely.

  • avatar
    european

    talking about modern slave traders, i just saw
    the documentary
    Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

    just wow.

  • avatar
    cory02

    Perhaps the Chinese see the US as the place to manufacture cars cheaply to support their ever-growing demand for cars. Or just a good place to take advantage of government officials desperate to buy some jobs with tax breaks, visas, etc.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    45mpg in 2013? Toyota will be past 60mpg by then.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    1.5L 400hp 45mpg? Whatever.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    european:

    I much prefer the take of President Obama’s Deputy Director for Domestic Affairs of the National Economic Council.

  • avatar
    Flipper

    With all the plant closings in the U.S. why isn’t it cheaper to just buy a closed plant? I mean isn’t NUMMI close to west coast shipping ports? Wouldn’t that be a better choice? Alabama seems so much further away from the mothership. Are they going to build ground up dealerships too? Here in the US there are PLENTY of available structures.This just screams wasteful . They could be earning a lot of good will from the American public thru revitalizing dying communities, but are willing to throw it away.

    Plus is it me or does the picture of the factory look like a Nazi symbol?

    http://isurvived.org/Pictures_iSurvived-2/Germany-NaziSymbol.GIF

  • avatar
    european

    johnthacker :

    well to make things straight, i was saddened by
    the working/living/treatment conditions of the chinese workers. but for the american workers i have no compassion at all. i mean, go fook youself walemarkt “associate” if you cant live of $7/hour 40h/week. live within your means, you dont need the plasma TV, ya know.

    same for the ones at the begining of the movie,
    crying out “faul play” if they loose their small business to walemarkt. thats capitalism folks, the best wins.

  • avatar
    ruckover

    european, that is sarcasm right (It is a bit early, and I have yet to have coffee)?

  • avatar

    With all the plant closings in the U.S. why isn’t it cheaper to just buy a closed plant?

    No closed plant was available with the required Totem Pole layout.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    A closed plant might come with all the same problems (labor hiring pool, management hiring pool) that CLOSED the plant.

    Of course I don’t mean they HAVE to hire the same people that helped a plant into it’s grave but around here once the workers become a problem, the plant eventually packs up and moves south of the border. We are the last stop before setting up production in Mexico (small town TN). Several lines left for Mexico at our largest employer last week after 3 day prior claiming that the rumors were false. The local paper even removed the article from their archives after the employer (Fleetguard-Cummins) lied.

    I think Detroit better get their ducks in a row b/c the Chinese are coming. Yes their first cars might be toys but the following generations won’t. Remember the 70s? Remember the Japanese import invasion? Surely Detroit hasn’t forgotten that.

    Saw that Wal-Mart movie. SO many of those folks were affected because of their own poor choices. I hear people complain about the state of business in my small town and then I ask them why they shop at Wal-mart/Sam’s/K-mart/Target/etc… Good prices of course they reply. Easy. One stop shopping. And they are addicted to the convenience. I avoid the place like the plague but still find myself shopping there for some odd items I can’t get somewhere else at 9PM a few times per year. Why can’t some other retailer break into our local markets? Some competition would be nice.

    So many of the local Mom and Pop businesses failed because they have continued to have 8-5 hours. I know they want to go home at the end of the day just like me but some close before I even get off work and start home when I might stop to buy something.

    How can you compete with a 24/7 big box retailer with daytime only hours?

    As for the workers – if you don’t like $7.50 an hour learn a trade or go to college so you can apply for better jobs. Cold hearted? That’s capitalism.

    The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming!!! (sooner or later).

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Flipper asked: “With all the plant closings in the U.S. why isn’t it cheaper to just buy a closed plant?”

    But then you couldn’t have all your buildings arranged in this ‘return of the Aztecs’ motif. Why do I get the feeling I just walked into the prelude to a Clive Cussler novel?

  • avatar

    Look again at that arial view of the plant.
    Stare at it.
    Now, what do you see?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Performance claims aside, I can’t believe it will be affordable.

    The 400 HP claim would apply to the (mostly) electric portion of the drive system, with the 1.5 L engine supplying a trickle charge (relatively-speaking) to the battery system.

    But, alas, it’s a plug-in, and that means people will be chained to their cars.

  • avatar
    european

    ruckover : i aint kidding

    joeaverage : your dead on right ++million & some

    i’ve lived in the states for 2 years (back in the late 90s) and sure, im european. so i’ve experienced both cultures & lifestyles. and i can tell you, things within the US were wrong even back then.
    what ya ought to, NEED! to do is ditch that feeling of entitlement of the good life. its not for everybody, its just for the deserving (read: hardworking) and successful people. being born american doesnt entitle you to sh!t. you’re no different than any european, chinese, russian, brasilian, anyone.

    just for reminder, prior to ww2 the germans also
    felt “entitled” to “their” lebensraum, coz they
    were born a “superior” race. look what that caused. it should never happen again, ok!!!

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “As for the workers – if you don’t like $7.50 an hour learn a trade or go to college so you can apply for better jobs.”

    Hmmm, there are an awful lot of college graduates looking for decent paying work too!

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Is this the first lawsuit?

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-msndce/case_no-3:2009cv00035/case_id-28896/

    (I don’t have a Pacer subscription, so I can’t check it out.)

  • avatar
    NickR

    Crop circles? I’ve seen better.

  • avatar
    TJ

    Couple of good points here. First, why not an existing auto plant like NUMMI? This is a simple answer-UAW. No transplant auto manufacturer wants anything to do with the UAW and if a transplant purchaced an old UAW plant there would be labor problems right from the start.

    Second, someone mentioned concern about a dealer network. Have we forgot about Saturn and Penske?

  • avatar
    tauronmaikar

    45 mpg by 2013?

    By 2012, VW will be selling a TDI hybrid making 113 mpg.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    I assume Bertel is no longer contributing since the RF announcement. We need a new “man in asia” for more inside insite.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    european :
    September 26th, 2009 at 6:43 am

    but for the american workers i have no compassion at all. i mean, go fook youself walemarkt “associate” if you cant live of $7/hour 40h/week. live within your means, you dont need the plasma TV, ya know.

    …or silly stuff like food, clothing, transportation, ya know…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    european :
    September 26th, 2009 at 11:44 am

    just for reminder, prior to ww2 the germans also
    felt “entitled” to “their” lebensraum, coz they
    were born a “superior” race. look what that caused.

    I see. So people who feel entitled to the opportunity to make a good living are like Nazis?

    Hyperbolic much?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    TJ :
    September 26th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Couple of good points here. First, why not an existing auto plant like NUMMI? This is a simple answer-UAW. No transplant auto manufacturer wants anything to do with the UAW and if a transplant purchaced an old UAW plant there would be labor problems right from the start.

    Not necessarily union…the cost of labor in the south is radically lower than in the north, California, and the rust belt, as is the cost of living.

    But I have a feeling that’ll change as the rust belt is further decimated by the loss of industry.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Come on now…It’s not like this venture is actually ever going to create a job. These folks will take the Government grants and run. Wonder when Senator Shelby will climb back on his Soapbox to oppose handouts to auto makers on this one.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Hmmm, there are an awful lot of college graduates looking for decent paying work too!

    Tell me about it. I had to get a masters degree before I could make a good, middle class existence. don’t think people who graduated from college in the ’50s had to work at the local coffee shop for $8.75/hour. College has been so oversold, to the point where the value of having an undergrad degree has crashed. I don’t even want to think of what someone who just went to high school faces.

  • avatar
    gntlben

    My guess as to why they’re not buying an existing plant is that it’s far easier to meet the E-5 immigration requirements by building a new facility. Also, the INS probably does not consider Fremont, CA to be in need enough to qualify for the half price Green Card.

    Having said that, there is a 2 year probation period for an E-5 Green Card, it’ll be interesting if they can keep this venture going for that long.


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