Interview: Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Talking About Future Plans
Recent history has shown that South Korea seems to be the epicenter of the current sales boom that is taking place in the automotive industry throughout Europe.
While sales of European cars are on a serious decline, Hyundai and Kia are shattering all sorts of sales records across the continent, leaving European automakers pondering what their next step should be.
That’s not the case for Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo who, in an interview with Automotive News Europe, outlined the plans the company has for building on their European sales success.
Hyundai vs. rivals
Mr. Mong-koo was asked about the fact that VW said they would be keeping a close eye on Hyundai and why they should be concerned.
His response was that Hyundai has spent the past decade focusing on improving every aspect of their brand rather than just focusing on one or two, with the cumulative effect showing up in the sales figures.
He went on to say that he believed in the “Hyundai Way”, which means not having to rely on a partner or a merger to succeed.
When asked about whether or not he wanted Hyundai to be the number 1 automaker in the world (they currently sit #5), Mong-koo suggested that they are more concerned with quality than quantity, which he believes will mean that the rankings will take care of themselves.
He did recognize that Chinese automakers were making some real steady progress in the auto industry, but re-iterated that Hyundai are more concerned with the business as a whole rather than a single group or country that might also be doing well.
Hyundai in Europe
When the conversation switched to Europe, the main question was about when Hyundai planned on introducing hybrids to the European market and whether or not they planned on increasing capacity.
Mong-koo responded that there was no definite timetable for hybrids or electric cars in Europe as the company was still working on improving the technology.
He also said that there were no plans at this time to open another production plant in Europe.
It was recently revealed that the operating margin of Hyundai was second only to that of BMW, with the biggest question being how they were able to achieve that without having a recognizable premium model.
Mr. Mong-koo was quick to point out that it all came back to the quality of the Hyundai brand once again.
The demand for the Hyundai lineup has meant that fewer discounts and incentives have to be offered, all of which helps the bottom line. That all adds up to the unit cost per vehicle going down rapidly, much of which is helped by integrating platforms between cars and the Hyundai and Kia brand.
A major part of the South Korean success is that the Hyundai-Kia partnership helps save costs, yet still appears as though the companies are two completely separate brands that have nothing to do with one another. [Source: autonews.com]