Hyundai to invest $50bn on becoming smart vehicle leader

It's time for established carmakers to make big, bold decisions— Hyundai is doing just that.
5 December 2019

Hyundai Kona Electric at Mondial Paris Motor Show. Source: Shutterstock

Electric vehicles (EVs) are still comparatively few and far between on our roads today but, as infrastructure develops, vehicles get more affordable, technology more advanced, and fossil fuel regulations more strict, mass adoption will follow as an inevitability.  

In fact, in the US, the year-on-year rate of adoption across most States sits somewhere between 50 to 100 percent, while by 2040, the International Energy Agency predicts that 50 percent of the world’s vehicles will be electrically-powered— a large portion of which could be autonomous.

Ultimately, that means it’s time for established carmakers to make big, bold decisions— especially as the market begins to attract new entrants including EV-purebreds and tech-savvy electronics firms.

With that in mind, South Korea-based Hyundai is launching Strategy 2025an ambitious pursuit to become a top-three leader in the future mobility industry in just a few years. The strategy will also seek to optimize manufacturing— such as building to match demand— and organizational efficiency. 

To achieve that, the firm is earmarking a staggering KRW61.1 trillion (US$51.8 billion) in funds for R&D and new technologies over the next five years, about one-third of which will be dedicated to electric and autonomous vehicles.

By the end of that sprint, the firm wants to be selling 670,000 EVs annually and to become one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of battery and fuel cells for EVs. 

The plan for smart mobility dominance spans both ‘major markets’— where it will offer most new models with an EV drivetrain by 2030— and emerging markets, where it aims to do the same by 2035. It hopes to capture a 5 percent share of the total vehicle market by 2025— a slight uptick from 2018— pushing its EV products towards younger age groups and enterprise first to achieve “economies of scale”.

However, the car firm’s vision for ‘smart mobility’ leadership is grander than just cornering a chunk of the EV market. It will be working on making its cars ‘connected’ by analyzing data from in and around the vehicle, enabling it to better understand its customers and offer tailored services as a result, including shopping, delivery, streaming, and multi-modal mobility services.

With regards to autonomous driving technology, meanwhile, Hyundai said it will offer level 2 and 3— as well as advanced parking assistance— in all models by 2025, while it aims to offer a fully autonomous driving platform by 2022 to begin mass production by 2024. R&D into smart mobility devices will extend beyond automobiles, to industry-focused (PAV), robotics and last-mile mobility.

The spending strategy will also be directed at optimizing internal processes, including the adoption of new systems for data-based decision making, employee performance management, process innovation, and next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP), as well as creating “a more flexible organizational structure and foster a harmonious corporate culture.”

Commenting on the announcement, Hyundai’s President Lee said: “The key to our future strategy is to focus on customers and to present the most desirable products and services. We want to offer smart mobility experiences that meet the shifting needs of our customers by leveraging advanced technology.”

“Transforming into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider with comprehensive mobility solutions that combine devices and services will be the centerpiece of Hyundai’s future strategy.

“We will do our utmost to equip ourselves for the future, to lead the future mobility industry, and maximize shareholder value.”