Picture of the Day: Hyundai Motor Company Union Strikes Again

Strike at Hyundai Motor

Unionized workers at Hyundai Motor Co.’s factory in Ulsan, 414 km southeast of Seoul, stage a partial strike calling for higher wages and bonuses on Dec. 5, 2017. Earlier in the day, the carmaker’s 51,000-member union declared a strike for four to six hours from Dec. 5-8 at five plants in the city. (Yonhap)

Hyundai May Pull Grandeur Model from the US

This is probably a good decision because I can’t remember the last time I remember seeing a Grandeur on the road in the US:

Hyundai Motor Co. is considering suspending the sales of the Grandeur sedan, exported under the name Azera, in the United States, industry sources said Sunday, due to its sluggish sales there.

While Hyundai announced the launch of the sixth-generation Grandeur earlier in November, sources said the company would not introduce the model in the U.S. If South Korea’s top automaker makes that decision, it would mark the first time in 16 years for the Azera to leave the U.S. market.

Industry watchers said although the Grandeur stands as a major high-end sedan in the South Korean market, it failed to grab enough attention in the North American market, losing out to the popular Sonata and the premium Genesis models.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

President Park Vows Support to Develop Driverless Cars in South Korea

South Korea due to its small size seems like an ideal location for the use of eco-friendly and driverless cars. It will be interesting to see how this technology develops over the next few years:

President Park Geun-hye pledged Friday to support the development of self-driving cars to ensure local carmakers won’t lag behind their global competitors.

Park said South Korea can compete with Google and other foreign rivals in developing driverless cars and eco-friendly vehicles, including electric cars, citing the technological prowess of local carmakers and information and technology companies.

South Korea is the world’s fifth-largest automobile producer and is home to Hyundai Motor Co. and its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors Corp., the two flagship units of Hyundai Motor Group.

“I think our carmakers won’t lag behind global competition and (will instead) stay ahead of it,” Park said at Hyundai’s assembly plant in Asan, about 100 kilometers south of Seoul. [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Hyundai Moving Forward with Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

It is going to be interesting to see if the hydrogen fuel cell cars ever catch on because right now I don’t see how someone can buy one when there are so few fueling stations:

Hyundai Motor Co. said Monday it believes hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the future for eco-friendly cars despite challenges of limited infrastructure and slow sales.

South Korea’s largest automaker has sold or leased 273 Tucson fuel cell SUVs since beginning production in 2013, lower than its 1,000 target, mostly in Europe and California.

Kim Sae Hoon, general manager at Hyundai’s fuel cell engineering design team, said fuel cell cars represent a bigger opportunity than electric cars because competition is less fierce. Hydrogen-powered cars also give more flexibility to designers, he said. They can be scaled to big vehicles such as buses as well as small cars.

They can also be refueled as quickly as gasoline cars while traveling more miles than electric vehicles. The Tucson’s Europe model, called ix35 Fuel Cell, can travel up to 594 kilometers (369 miles) while its U.S. model travels up to 265 miles (426 kilometers) on one charge. It emits water vapor and no greenhouse gases.

High prices and the dearth of fueling stations are barriers to sales of fuel cell vehicles. Hyundai said it will be another 10 years before hydrogen cars start gaining wider acceptance. In the meantime, sales of eco-friendly cars are dominated by hybrid models such as Toyota’s Prius and electric vehicles such as Nissan’s Leaf, which are more affordable than fuel cell cars.  [Associated Press]

You can read more at the link.


Hyundai To Build Korea’s Tallest Building In Gangnam

Hyundai is thinking big with the construction of what they hope will be a landmark building in Korea:

Hyundai Motor Group began negotiations with the Seoul city government over the construction of a 115-story headquarters at the Samseong-dong plot in Gangnam it purchased from Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) for 10.55 trillion won ($9.6 billion) last September.

According to the city government Sunday, Hyundai Motor has submitted a plan to build the highest building in the country at 571 meters (1,873 feet), 16 meters higher than the Lotte World Tower.

Currently, the country’s highest skyscraper is the North East Asia Trade Tower in Songdo, Incheon, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

That building, which was finished last July, has 68 floors and is 305-meters high. Offices occupy the first 35 floors, and the remaining floors are used as a hotel and for restaurants.

The world’s fifth-largest automaker said it wants to build a landmark dubbed the Global Business Center at the Kepco site in Gangnam when it purchased the land last year.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read the rest at the link.

Picture of the Day: Hyundai Announces New Headquarters In Seoul

Hyundai Motor's new headquarters

Shown is a file photo of the headquarters of the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. in southern Seoul. Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo said on Jan. 2, 2015, that the company will build a 105-story building on the KEPCO land as part of a global business center that incorporates its affiliates, a hotel and an auto theme park modeled after Germany’s Autostadt by 2020. Hyundai Motor Group won a bidding war against Samsung Electronics Co. last year to buy the land by offering 10.55 trillion won (US$10.14 billion). (Yonhap)

Kumgang Tour Director Fired for Corruption

Unsurprisingly South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, one of North Korea’s useful idiots, has sided with North Korea over the current controversy between Hyundai and North Korea’s joint tourism projects:

Unification Minister Chung Dong-young met with Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun on Sunday to discuss a spat between the company and North Korea over a tourism project Hyundai Asan operates in the Kumgang Mountains.
A source connected to the matter said Wednesday the two discussed North Korean demands to reinstate Hyundai Asan vice chairman Kim Yoon-kyu, who was ousted over corruption charges, but the differences in opinion were wide. That suggests Chung asked for the disgraced executive to be reinstated.

It was the following day that Hyun posted a statement on the Hyundai Asan homepage saying that Kim had been removed due to corruption and rejected calls to reinstate the man who had for many years coordinated the tourism projects with the North.

I am beginning to like Chairwoman Hyun more and more. It is about time someone stood up to the Norks and blew off Chung.

Hyundai Tours to North Korea to End?

It appears that the Hyundai tours to different North Korean locations may end:

Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun on Monday publicly rejected a North Korean demand to reinstate Kim Yoon-kyu, the disgraced vice chairman of Hyundai Asan who had dealt with the North for many years in arranging their joint tourism projects. “I now seem to stand at a crossroads of whether to continue or quit our North Korea projects,” she said. Since Hyundai’s ouster of Kim, Pyongyang has applied pressure on the group by slashing the quota for the Asan’s Kumgang Mountains tours and blanking requests for negotiations on stalled projects to Kaesong and Mt. Baekdu. When Hyun visited the Kumgang Mountains, she says, authorities forced her to open her handbag, a gesture she interpreted as contempt, and she concluded, I’ll choose honest conscience rather than opportunistic servility.”

It is standard practice in inter-Korean economic cooperation to put up with Pyongyang’s demented behavior. That makes Hyun’s statement all the more significant. Her resolve not to allow North Korean pressure to meddle in her corporation’s managerial rights is the natural choice for a top executive, but in the reality of inter-Korean relations things rarely take their natural course.

I think this is great that someone is finally taking a stand and not kissing the North Koreans butts continuously. The Korean government can learn something from Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun. It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out.