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Hyundai heir marks 2nd year leadership, speeds up future mobility

Sept. 13, 2020 - 16:56 By Shin Ji-hye

It has been two years since Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun became the de-facto head of the group. Under his leadership, the automaker has bet big on future mobility centering on smart cars and eco-friendly vehicles.

To envision future mobility, Hyundai showcased three solutions for the future -- urban air mobility, purpose built vehicle, and hub, a place for mobility transfer and community activities -- at CES 2020 in Las Vegas early this year. Based on these mobility solutions, it aims to free future cities and people from constraints of time and space and allow them to create more value in their lives.

To boost its autonomous technologies, the automaker signed a deal with US autonomous vehicle software developer Aptiv for a $4 billion joint venture in September last year. The two firms agreed to test-operate autonomous driving vehicles in 2022 and start mass-producing them from 2024.

Hyundai is also ramping up its efforts on eco-friendly cars -- electric and hydrogen vehicles.

The automaker decided to release nine new electric vehicles next year and 2022. It set a goal of selling 1 million units of electric cars next year, taking up more than 10 percent of the global market share. Next year, the firm is set to release Ioniq, a pure electric car brand that is equipped with an electric-global modular platform.

Hyundai is also making efforts to maintain its leadership in the hydrogen field. The automaker established the world’s first mass-production system for large hydrogen-electric trucks in April and exported 10 trucks to Switzerland in July. It aims to export 40 more hydrogen trucks by the end of this year and supply a total of 1,600 units by 2025.

Challenges still remain to reform corporate governance, improve performance in future mobility and complete its new headquarters, dubbed the Global Business Center.

The group’s restructuring of its governance structure has been suspended since it was blocked by opposition from Elliott and other investors. However, with Elliott selling off its stake, the restructuring of the group’s governance structure is expected to accelerate.

Chung’s leadership has also been put to the test. Although he has sketched out future cars, the automaker has yet to produce tangible results. The success of Ioniq, which will be released next year, will show his leadership capability.

In order to become a future mobility company, the key is how well Hyundai can converge with other firms and technologies, said Dealim University automotive professor Kim Pil-soo. The future cars will be an integration of diverse technologies, such as self-driving, sharing and electric. Hyundai needs to move more quickly to create synergy with specialized firms, he said.

By Shin Ji-hye (