An assembly line in South Korea.

A new Korean supplier is set to invest $72.5 million in Savannah, hiring more than 500 at a facility that will make seat frames for cars with an automated process outfitted with robotic welding machines. 

Daechang Seat Corp. will set up shop in the Savannah Chatham Manufacturing Center to be near the Hyundai Meta Plant, where the South Korean auto maker is constructing its first dedicated electric vehicle factory in the United States. Another two suppliers have already located in the industrial park. 

Hyundai will soon mark one year since it broke ground on the 2,900-acre site in Bryan County. Daechang works already with key suppliers Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Transys, but the company hopes to work on “even more projects in the future,” according to Jinsuk Lee, CEO of the local operation, Daechang Seat Savannah Corp. 

Now one of the largest seat frame producers globally, Daechang started in the city of Gyeongju in the Gyeongchang-buk province of Korea in 1979, where it still has factories. It now employs more than 5,000 people across Korea and seven other countries, including China, India, Turkey, Poland, Indonesia, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Along with Korean OEMs Kia and Hyundai, Daechang counts as customers global automakers like Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, Volvo and Volkswagen. The corporate headquarters is in Dongtan, south of Seoul. In 2022, the company had 1.4 trillion won in sales, about $1 billion. See all international sites here

The DSC site in Phenix City.

In the U.S., the company known as DSC has a factory in Phenix City, Ala., just across the state line from Columbus, Ga.

Established in 2020, it was a latecomer to the a troop of Korean firms that set up shop in the western part of Georgia or eastern Alabama to serve the Hyundai and Kia plants in Montgomery, Ala., and West Point, Ga., respectively. 

Daechang’s initial Phenix City investment was $9 million, followed by a reported $40 million expansion in 2022. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, in a news release, said suppliers for the Hyundai Meta Plant are present in nine counties, showing the far-reaching ripple effects of the $5.5 billion investment along Interstate 16. 

Georgia Department of Economic Development was recently recognized by The Korea Society for its prowess in welcoming Korean firms, particularly those participating in the energy transition in the United States.

The Southeast U.S.-Korea Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 2 will host The Next Generation Workforce Development Forum in partnership with the Georgia Automotive Manufacturers Association, or GAMA, at the Kia plant in West Point. Find out more here

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...