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Hyundai Motor Doubles Down On EVs As It Increases Investment In Korea

Hyundai Motor Doubles Down On EVs As It Increases Investment In Korea
Hyundai Motor Group announced that it will invest 68 trillion won ($51 billion) in South Korea over three years to increase electric vehicle manufacturing and new mobility operations, as well as hire 80,000 new personnel, doubling down at a time when other established automakers are halting their efforts.
More than half of the investment, or 35.5 trillion won, will go towards new R&D infrastructure and EV assembly lines, the automaker said in a statement.
"We are doubling down on electrification," Hyundai global Chief Operating Officer Jose Munoz said in an interview at the New York auto show. "We're very committed to the United States market."
In the United States, Hyundai announced in November that it would invest $12.6 billion in new specialised EV and battery manufacturing facilities in Georgia, the largest investment outside South Korea.
Hyundai Motor Group, which includes flagship Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia, is the world's third largest manufacturer in terms of sales. The corporation also owns Hyundai Mobis, a manufacturer of auto parts, and Hyundai Engineering & Construction.
Hyundai's fresh wave of EV investment comes as competitor automakers scale back ambitions to grow EV manufacturing, shifting resources to hybrid models or larger share buybacks and payouts for investors.
In 2021, General Motors announced that it planned to invest more than $35 billion on EV projects through 2025, prioritising EV acceleration over short-term earnings. However, last year, the American manufacturer postponed a proposed electric truck facility and reduced its estimated EV output.
The New York Auto Show opens to the public on Friday, as the industry faces a difficult decision.
Last year, GM said that it will spend $10 billion on share buybacks, and CEO Mary Barra has hinted that more buybacks may follow. Stellantis has also committed to return more cash to shareholders rather than increasing its investment in EVs.
Ford, which three years ago announced $30 billion in EV spending through 2030, has since reduced manufacturing plans for its F-150 Lightning electric truck and reassigned workers to produce more gasoline-powered Bronco SUVs. Ford is now "right-sizing the capacity and investments we are putting into EVs," according to Chief Financial Officer John Lawler.
Toyota, the world's largest carmaker by vehicle sales, is expanding its EV selection, although the Japanese automaker has focused on increasing sales of gas-electric hybrids. Investors have reacted positively, driving Toyota shares up over 50% this year.
Munoz stated that Hyundai expects the pace of electrification to decrease, but that the Korean carmaker will stick to its goals while remaining adaptable, including the introduction of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Hyundai unveiled its 2025 Tucson SUV on Wednesday, announcing that both hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will be available this summer.
"The only difference is we still see EVs in the long run as the way we are going to see the biggest growth," he said.
Hyundai hopes to start producing EVs in Georgia in October, allowing them to qualify for $7,500 tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act - ahead of schedule, Munoz said. Hyundai, which doubled EV sales in the United States last year, will shortly disclose which EVs it will make in Georgia, he said.
Among the initiatives included in the new investment plan unveiled Wednesday is the renovation of a Kia facility to develop a tiny EV that will be "produced and sold domestically and internationally."
In 2025, a second plant will begin making "PBV" vehicles, which refers to a purpose-built EV. Hyundai displayed prototypes of PBVs used as commercial vehicles at this year's CES in Las Vegas.
Hyundai's Ulsan facility will commence mass production of "ultra-large" Genesis premium EVs in the first quarter of 2026, the company announced.
Hyundai announced that further 31.1 trillion won will be set aside in South Korea for research and development in electric vehicles, including software-defined vehicles (SDVs) and battery technology, with the majority of jobs created to boost future business.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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