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   제목: New Hyundai Motor chief set to tackle key tasks

New Hyundai Motor chief set to tackle key tasks

October 14, 2020

By Nam Hyun-woo

As Hyundai Motor Group enters into a new chapter with the appointment of Chung Euisun as its new chairman, many are anticipating how the automotive conglomerate will look under the leadership of the 49-year-old.

Given the global automotive industry is changing at a daunting speed with the rise of new technologies, Hyundai Motor Group is tackling questions on how to style itself in the future, and Chung will be required to make key decisions and device strategies forward forward.

Before taking the helm of Hyundai Motor Group, Chung had dropped hints at how the group's portfolio will look in the future. In a meeting with employees last October, he said cars will account for 50 percent of the group's portfolio in the future, followed by urban air mobility (UAM) with 30 percent and robotics with 20 percent.

He also delivered a similar message during his first speech as the group chairman, picking eco-friendly vehicles, autonomous driving, robotics and UAM as key priorities that the group will work on in the future.

Based on this outline, Chung is expected to focus on tackling four key tasks.


Sales recovery

The most urgent task appears to be the recovery of sales. In the wake of COVID-19, the group's two main carmakers ― Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors ― saw their operating profits declining by 29.5 percent and 47.7 percent year-on-year, respectively. Their sales volume through the third quarter of this year also shrank by 19.4 percent and 8.8 percent from a year earlier.

Though the decline was largely attributable to the pandemic, the continued sales slowdown in the Chinese market also contributed to this downtrend. Hyundai Motor sold more than 1.14 million vehicles in China to take a 5.1 percent market share in 2018, but the number fell to 650,000 vehicles and a 3.1 percent market share last year.

With hopes to reverse the trend, Hyundai Motor participated recently in the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition 2020, showcasing the new Avante and the Tucson there. Also, the company is expected to begin the operation of its luxury brand Genesis in China soon, beginning with the exhibiting of the GV80 SUV at the China International Import Expo 2020 in Shanghai next month.


Key tasks for Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun
An illustration of vehicles of Hyundai Motor's IONIQ electric vehicle brand / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor

Phasing out combustion engines

Eco-friendly vehicles also come as an important task for Hyundai Motor Group's car business in the future.

Though Hyundai Motor is one of the world's three carmakers mass-producing hydrogen vehicles, the group hasn't been as competitive in the electric vehicle (EV) market.

Before taking the chairman post, Chung has come up with a plan to grow the group's EV business so it can lead the global EV market ― with a 10 percent share ― by selling more than 1 million EVs by 2025. Under his leadership, the group is anticipated to ramp up its efforts to meet the target.

Currently, Hyundai Motor is in the final stages of developing a new EV platform, named E-GMP, and rolling out a number of EVs starting from next year under the new EV-only IONIQ brand. Including Kia Motors, the group plans to introduce 23 EVs in the market by 2025.

Consolidating the group's leadership in the hydrogen fuel-cell business is also an important assignment for Chung.

During a Cheong Wa Dae event in July, Chung said "The hydrogen-fuel cell system is scalable as a power source for all aspects of daily life, thus it will be the eco-friendly energy solution and related industries will grow as an economic driver."

After debuting the group's first hydrogen fuel-cell EV, the Nexo, in 2013, the group succeeded in mass-producing hydrogen trucks this year and began exporting them to the European market. The Nexo is standing as the world's top-selling hydrogen vehicle, with 3,292 trucks selling across the world in the first half of this year.


Key tasks for Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun
A mockup of Hyundai Motor's S-A1 air vehicle is displayed at the company's booth during the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 6. Courtesy of Hyundai Motor

Mobility service

Mobility service is a domain that Hyundai Motor Group is seeking to add as its future identity. During this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, Chung introduced a UAM ecosystem comprised of air taxis, autonomous driving shuttles and their landing and charging ports.

Chung said UAM will "remove urban boundaries" and "create quality time to enrich people's lives." The group has signed a partnership with Uber on UAM service and plans to commercialize it as early as 2028.

Along with UAM, Chung is expected to focus on land mobility services, such as car sharing and ride hailing. Since 2018, the group has invested into Grab, Revv, Ola and a number of other global mobility service startups, as well as setting up the autonomous driving technology firm Motional.

Shareholding structure

Adding to the mounting assignments on the group's future business, Chung is facing a thorny task of reorganizing group units' shareholding structures so that he can strengthen his grip on managing rights.

Currently, Hyundai Motor Group companies are having complex shareholding loops. In most of the loops, Hyundai Mobis plays a pivotal role by controlling a 21.43 percent stake in Hyundai Motor.

Despite Hyundai Mobis' importance, Chung owns a mere 0.32 percent stake in Hyundai Mobis. He also owns a relatively small 2.62 percent stake in Hyundai Motor and a 1.74 percent stake in Kia Motors.

To address the cross-shareholding structure and stabilize his managing rights in the group, Chung is anticipated to take over his father and former Chairman Chung Mong-koo's 7.13 percent stake in Hyundai Mobis and 5.22 percent stake in Hyundai Motor.

Given Chung has a 23.29 percent stake in the group's logistics unit Hyundai Glovis, it is widely expected that Hyundai Glovis will play a pivotal role in Hyundai Motor Group's shareholding structure in the future.

"Though it is hard to pinpoint a certain timeframe, it is natural to expect an overhaul in Hyundai Motor Group's shareholding structure and Chung will be on top of it," KB Securities analyst Kang Seong-jin said.

Excerpts articles from the Korea Times


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