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Posted on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 10:47 a.m.

Hyundai lands $2.5M business incentive to aid expansion at Superior Township facility

By Lizzy Alfs


The Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center in Superior Township employs about 170 workers.

File photo

The Hyundai-Kia Technical Center in Superior Township is one step closer to its $15 million expansion on Geddes Road.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced this week that the Michigan Strategic Fund will provide $2.5 million in capital to support the expansion — which is expected to add 50 new jobs over the next five years.

The expansion involves the construction of a new environmental chamber, called a “Hot/Cold Weather Dynamometer Test” facility, which will be used to test vehicles in extreme temperatures.

Hyundai already employs about 170 workers at the 200,000-square-foot facility, which conducts powertrain testing, calibration and some general engineering and design activities for Hyundai vehicles. The center opened on Geddes Road in 2005.

Central to the expansion was that the Michigan Strategic Fund provided the $2.5 million in capital. Those funds will be repaid over time using tax dollars from a Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA) recently established by the Superior Township Board of Trustees in consultation with economic development group Ann Arbor SPARK.

The State of Michigan will fund construction of a new power substation at the Superior Township center that will improve the power output to the building — an upgrade Hyundai desperately needed. Superior Township has offered support to the project in the form of a tax abatement, according to a release.

Because the company uses sensitive testing equipment like a dynamometer, the Superior Township facility is prone to electrical outages when current fluctuates, which also causes problems for the company’s network infrastructure.

Hyundai had indicated that it would not launch an expansion without a reliable electrical system.

The company announced its plans for expansion in January at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

At the time, Sung Hwan Cho, president of the technical center, said the news “reinforces Hyundai and Kia’s commitment to U.S. vehicle development and American jobs.”

Ann Arbor SPARK worked with Hyundai to help the company secure the more than $2.5 million in new business development incentives from the state and Superior Township, according to the release.

“The expansion of Hyundai’s North American Technical Center here shines a light on the talent, business development and other unique assets that this region offers advanced engineering and research operations,” said SPARK CEO Paul Krutko, in the release.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Good for Hyundai! My wish is that they build a test facility/proving grounds across Geddes Rd instead of the proposed (and township opposed) 1900-unit mobile home park.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

Let's see. Hyundai, a for profit company, gets a gift from Lansing The profits flow back to Korea. In return Hyundai promises 50 new jobs over 5 years. The taxpayers get the bill. This is your education & pension tax dollars at work.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

Corporate welfare at its finest...


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

Businesses here in Michigan are certainly getting a good deal with the high unemployment as a sledgehammer. A huge tax cut from Lansing (paid for essentially by the middle class), then the latest gift offer from Lansing on equipment and nice deals like this from local government. Of course, SPARK was right there to give our tax money to a company and claim the jobs (that they did not have much to do with - really). And, of course, there was with its built in conflict of interest - Laurel Champion - touting SPARK (has it ever, ever said anything negative or done any investigative reporting on SPARK?). And since these companies are 'people' they can use the tax cuts to lobby and do campaign ads for more good deals from our ever grateful legislators. Little by little we're being marginalized and used. Does the phrase 'sold my soul to the company store' sound like the future?


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 10:56 a.m.

So depressing Townie, but one of the best posts ever. Investigate SPARK? Investigate Hyundai? Investigate Superior Townships' long term plan if personal tax is eliminated? Oh crap....investigate ANYTHING?


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

1. Someday can a REPORTER ask Hyundai Superior Twnp how many local employees they have working there? The folks I know working there came from another country to work here on a temporary basis. They seems to shift back and forth different workers from Korea. I'm not sure how many local workers are employed there. I'm tired of hearing meaningless and arbitrary employment numbers from this place. 2. If the personal property tax is dumped by Lansing....what will that do to Superior Township and the Hyundai relationship? I'm guessing they will be asking us for more tax money to make up for it.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

They are typically on a 2 year cycle. This is more of a hive then a work place.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

How about some solar on the roof? Not that this would alleviate the external power fluctuations, but would at least bring into play another Michigan initiative.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Solar on the roof? For what, to charge their cell phones? LOL


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

The majority of the 170 people there aren't doing anything besides checking e-mail. Hyundai does everything in Korea, ask around if you don't believe it.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 10:52 a.m.

Oh I DO believe it! If only we had REPORTERS who would go to Hyundai and ask how may locals are working there. Oh for the days of real news.

say it plain

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

Wait, so, what is the 2.5 million going toward? Is that separate from the State paying to fix the substation issues?! And the above text reads that the 2.5 million will be *repaid* over time *from* a Superior Township LDFA?! I'm feeling challenged trying to understand the financing schemes as described here. How much is Hyundai spending on expanding then? And how much will come back to taxpayers? And how much is the state and township paying total for the promise of 50 jobs?!


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

prone to electrical outages? wasn't there an EE on the design team? I'm pretty sure dynamo-meters have been use for a while


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

Shepard, thank you for the information! Those of us in Superior Township have had power outages regularly for the past few years....thanks Hyundai.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

No, you don't understand. The substation was pulled from the original construction contract so Hyundai would not have to pay the contractors markup to manage the construction of that facility with the power company. ..then a few months from opening the geniuses realized they had no power and had to slap a substation together. While fast, it was not the correct type for that "sensitive equipment". In my experience, they are as arrogant as they are unteachable and as others have written, the building is a token show place while the real work is done in Korea. The nice car designs and high level of quality they've skyrocketed to in the last few years has zero to do with this place. The inside is creepy – every American engineer or manager has a Korean shadow lurking over his shoulder.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

No, you don't understand. Such senstivie electrical testing equipment requires stable supply voltage to operate reliably and consistently. The grid in this area has a lot of issues and power surges & brown-outs were/are common.