GeIt’s unclear if Georgia’s auto sector will be hurt by the GM shutdowns. But a Korean company plans to build a 2,000-worker plant in Jackson County that will make batteries. It won’t be the first big Korean operation: Here, vehicles roll along the line at Kia Motors Corp.’s assembly plant in West Point. (Kia Motors via Bloomberg)

Korean battery-maker to build 2,000-worker Georgia plant

A South Korean battery maker plans to create more than 2,000 jobs in Jackson County, according to an announcement Tuesday from the governor’s office.

The company, SK innovation, develops and manufactures lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles and has committed to investing $1.67 billion in a new factory, according to Gov. Deal.

That plan is an endorsement of the state’s economic strategy, as well as Georgia’s connections to various Korean firms, he said in a statement.

“SK Innovation’s decision to make this significant investment … reflects Georgia’s reputation as a top destination for international businesses, especially those in the automotive supply sector.”

The announcement did not include any information about incentives or subsidies given to the company as part of the bargain.

The SK announcement comes days after General Motors said it would close five plants in the United States and Canada, shutdowns that will likely hurt a number of parts-makers, as well as the tens of thousands of workers and their communities.

However, GM said its decision was both cost-cutting and a shift away from smaller cars. The company said it wants to focus on hybrids and self-driving vehicles – in addition to the larger SUVs and trucks that have been selling well.

Currently, the only vehicle assembly plant in Georgia is operated by South Korea-based Kia.

But SK Innovation’s batteries are primarily sold to Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai-Kia Motors, both of which have assembly plants in Alabama.

SK Innovation is a part of the SK Group, a South Korean conglomerate that employs more than 6,500 people.

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