Hyundai Motors was known for much of it early existence as a producer of cheap but not particularly well-made cars that contained engines that occasionally blew up, doors that didn’t fit properly and sheet metal body panels that rusted out after only a few years. People used to joke that Hyundai cars benefit from high gas prices because every time an owner filled up the value of the car doubled. But things have changed a lot since then. By some measures Hyundai Motors is the fifth largest car company in the world. By other measures it is the 10th largest and has ranked as high as fourth in the U.S.

Hyundai Motor Company owns 33.9 percent of Kia Corporation. Hyundai and Kia are the two main car brands in South Korea. In the late 1990s and early 2000, the business was turned around by Chung Mong Koo, the son of Hyundai’s founder Chung Ju Yung. Quality greatly improved and sales went up under Mung Koo. The Hyundai Sante Fe SUV, the XG300 luxury sedan and highly rated Elantra compact won high marks for their design and reliability.

Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Corporation, the luxury cars subsidiary, Genesis Motor, and electric vehicle sub-brand, Ioniq together comprise the Hyundai Motor Group. After the 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis, Hyundai began distancing itself from the large Hyundai chaebol and overhauled its image in an attempt to establish itself as a world-class brand. Chung Ju Yung transferred leadership of Hyundai Motor to Chung Mong Koo, in 1999. Hyundai's parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, invested heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of its vehicles. It added a 10-year or 160,000 kilometers (100,000-mile) warranty to cars sold in the United States and launched an aggressive marketing campaign. In 2004, Hyundai was ranked second in "initial quality" in a survey/study by J.D. Power and Associates in North America.Hyundai is now one of the top 100 most valuable brands worldwide. [

Hyundai Motor Company had 104,731 employees in 2013. Hyundai Motor Group has been the parent company since 2000. Its divisions are Genesis, Ioniq and Kia. The production output was 4,858,000 units in 2016.
Revenue: US$92.3 billion

Operating income: US$3.2 billion

Net income: US$2.8 billion

Total assets: US$170 billion
Total equity: US$67.2 billion [Source: 2019, Wikipedia]

Early History of Hyundai Motors

Hyundai Motor Company was founded in 1967 by Chung Ju-Yung, who was born in North Korea in 1915, to build the Cortina in Korea with Ford. Chung realized he needed a top-level car man to get his car company off the ground and hired former Austin Morris boss George Turnbull in the 1970s to lead development of the very first Hyundai car. Hyundai launched the first Korean passenger car — the Hyundai Pony, a small four-door sedan — in 1976. The Pony and Pony II were exported to countries such as Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Egypt, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The timing of Hyundai’s entry into the U.S. market in 1986 was good. At that time, most automobile manufacturers had abandoned the entry-level market in favor of high-end, high-priced vehicles, leaving a large void in the market. First-time car buyers such as college students and young families were not able to find adequate, value-equipped cars that met their needs, yet were priced within their economic means. After entering the United States with the Excel compact in 1986, the company started rolling out models with its own technology, beginning with the Sonata, a mid-segment sedan, in 1988.

In the 1990s the Hyundai Accent and Daewoo Lanos were the two cheapest cars sold in the United States. The sticker price on each was less than $9000. Hyundai entered the United States market in 1986, with the Excel, which sold for under $5,000. Within two years it was the fifth-best-selling model in the U.S. After that sales dipped due to concerns about quality and reliability.

Doron Levin wrote in Fortune: The Hyundai Excel, a subcompact imported from South Korea and selling for as low as $10,000, established the automaker in the 1990s as a maker of cheap, flimsy transportation. Recalls, complaints and poor consumer ratings forced the automaker in 1998 to offer a ten-year, 100,000-mile warranty – the industry’s most generous.“Korea Inc. in those days was all about how many units you could sell,” Southerton said. “The paradigm shifted in the 1990s when Korean industry watched Samsung gain success by embracing quality.” [Source: Doron Levin, Fortune, June 29, 2015]

Chung Mong Koo and Hyundai Motors

Chung Mong-koo (1938-) is the head of the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, the second largest business group in Korea. The eldest living son of Chung Ju Yung, he thought he would be given control of the entire chaebol but he was passed by senior Chung in favor of Chung Mong-hun, the favored fifth son. In 2000, Chung Mong Koo broke away and took over Hyundai Motors. On its own Hyundai Motors ranked as the 5th largest company in South Korea.

Don Kirk wrote in the New York Times: “Until 1998, Mong Koo believed that his status as the oldest surviving son guaranteed him the group's undisputed chairmanship. His greatest challenge came from Mong Hun, who served with him as co-chairman.” He was 63 when his father died, he headed the recently revived motor vehicle companies — but not the core group. ''Hyundai-Kia auto group will succeed my late father's Hyundai family as the legitimate heir,'' he said, giving equal emphasis to Kia Motors, which Hyundai took over in 1998. [Source: Don Kirk, New York Times April 26, 2001]

In 2011 Hyundai Kia Automotive Group took over Hyundai Construction. At that time, Forbes reported: “ Hyundai Motor officials insist that blunt, tough-talking Mong-Koo, who long ago earned the nickname Bulldozer, saw the Construction acquisition as strictly business — even as he embraced the company like a long-lost relative. Striding into Construction’s headquarters on Apr. 1, he announced a $4.6 billion payment to the creditors for 34.9 percent of the shares. He would now work out of his father’s old office suite in the building, rather than at Hyundai Motor’s distant towering headquarters. [Source: Forbes, April 26, 2011]

“Normally reticent, Mong-Koo was exuberant as he addressed nervous Construction executives in a packed meeting in the basement auditorium. “Hyundai Motor Group plans to build up the construction sector as ‘the third core,’” he declared, ranking it with motor vehicles and steel as a pillar of Hyundai Motor, which is second in revenue among the country’s family-led conglomerates to sprawling Samsung. He ranks second on our annual list of Korea’s 40 richest, with a net worth of $7.4 billion, behind Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee.

“But why would a chaebol that sold 5.7 million units worldwide last year–edging out Ford for fourth place behind Toyota, GM and Volkswagen–crave the unique distinction among motor vehicle makers of owning huge construction and steel interests? As far as Mong-Koo was concerned, the answer was synergy, not sentiment. “Together with the worldwide global network of Hyundai Motor,” he said, “global competitiveness in steel, railways and finance will be a threshold for Hyundai Construction to become a leading company.”

Chung Mong-Koo, who has watched the consolidated net income of his 40-plus companies rise more than four times over, to $6.8 billion, since Hyundai Steel joined the group in 2004, scored his latest coup at an opportune moment. Construction’s $8.9 billion in revenue last year was “the highest ever for a Korean construction company,” he boasted. “This achievement, produced by your efforts,” he said, mingling praise with an admonition to do still better, “will be a stepping stone into the future.”

Is it possible, however, that Chung Mong-Koo has strayed too far from when Hyundai Motor had one product line, motor vehicles? Says Jang Ha-Sung, a business professor at Korea University: “There’s no obvious reason why Hyundai Motor needs a construction company,” except that “every large chaebol has one.”

Hyundai Motors Grows in the Late 1990s and 2000s

Hyundai Motor successfully weathered the 1997 Asian foreign exchange crisis and expanded its business into an automotive group with control over several subsidiaries, including auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis. Hyundai Motors acquired Kia Motors, which went bankrupt during the Asian economic crisis in 1997-98 and made it profitable. Hyundai opened a modern plant in Nošovice in the Czech Republic, with advanced technologies and waste-management systems to ensure exceptionally high levels of quality, while keeping impact on the environment to a minimum. In 2005, Hyundai built the Rüsselsheim Design and Engineering Centre in Germany, a state-of-the-art studio bringing together designers and engineers from all over Europe. This makes it possible to design, engineer and manufacture cars in Europe, specifically for European customers. In the UK, Hyundai replaced its entire line-up of 14 cars with all-new improved models, in just four years.

In the early 2000s, Hyundai had worldwide market share of 2.3 percent (compared to 16.4 for General Motors and 7.5 percent for DaimlerChrysler). Between 1996 and 2001 the worldwide sales of Hyundai cars rose from 1.2 million vehicles to 1.6 million and its market share in the United States rose 0.7 percent to 2 percent. In the early 2000s, Hyundai sold about 800,000 cars domestically a year and 1 million cars abroad. Some Kia cars sell well in the United States. Hyundai and Kia control about 65 percent of the market in South Korea. In June 2002, it broke ground on a a $1 billion assembly plant in Alabama.

By expanding its presence in key markets like China and the U.S., the carmaker sold 4.06 million vehicles in 2011. Hyundai’s Genesis sedan was ranked the best mid-sized premium car in 2012 by J.D. Power and Associates, while the Elantra was named North American car of the year at the Detroit auto show. But it hasn’t always been an easy ride. Over the years the carmaker has had to is deal with global crisis, business fluctuation, government pressures and labor unrest over working conditions and pay. Employees staged have strikes that have resulted in a losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hyundai Motor Co. has grown into the Hyundai Motor Group, with more than two dozen auto-related subsidiaries and affiliates. Hyundai Motor has seven manufacturing bases outside of South Korea including Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, India, Russia, Turkey and the U.S. The company employs about 75,000 worldwide, offers a full line-up of products including small to large passenger vehicles, SUVs and commercial vehicles. In the early 2010s, Hyundai Motor was ranked the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker, based on annual vehicle sales, and employed 80,000 people.

Doron Levin wrote in Fortune: Key to Hyundai’s turnaround: “Chung Moong-koo became the new and much-revered chief executive of Hyundai. Chung repaired trucks for the U.S. Army as a youth and rose to become chairman and chief executive of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors in 2000. Unwavering obedience to his rule by subordinates has been a hallmark of his tenure: Chung’s orders and initiatives are carried out swiftly, meticulously and without question. Nevertheless, “Hyundai was always very open to criticism and suggestions,” Krafcik said. “Sometimes at automakers the engineers resist feedback from consumers.” [Source: Doron Levin, Fortune, June 29, 2015]

“In 2006, amid criticism from U.S. reviewers that their vehicles looked “weird” and worse, Hyundai poached Peter Schreyer, an Audi designer who had gained renown for his role in the Audi TT sports coupe. Almost immediately, the reviews improved. Under his guidance, the award-winning Kia Soul and others were created. Earlier this month, Hyundai hired Luc Donckerwolke, another Audi designer, to succeed Schreyer, who will retire in two years.

Hyundai Boosted by High J.D. Power Quality Ratings

In 2004, Hyundai ranked higher better quality cars than Toyota J.D. Power and Associates quality rankings. Mark Rechtin wrote in Auto News: A study released by J.D. Power and Associates rated Hyundai Motor America vehicles as having lower defect rates than those of Toyota Division. The consultancy's 2004 Initial Quality Study showed Hyundai vehicles as having 102 defects per 100 vehicles, whereas Toyota vehicles had 104 defects per 100 vehicles. The survey taken of 51,000 new-car owners after 90 days of ownership makes no differentiation between a major gaffe, such as a transmission failure, and something minor, such as wind noise or a glove box squeak. [Source: Mark Rechtin, Auto News, April 28, 2004]

While applauding Hyundai's efforts, Toyota officials said the IQS results are just one piece of a larger puzzle. "What happens in the first 90 days of ownership can be telling, but the undisputed indicator of quality is time. Toyota vehicles continue to stand the test of time," said Toyota spokesman Xavier Dominicis. "While initial quality is one factor in the car buying process, shoppers should also look into a vehicle's long-term durability, fuel efficiency, environmental record, safety and resale value."

Hyundai's improved score underlines the compression of quality in the J.D. Power ratings. Although vehicles manufactured by Japanese automakers as a whole continue to lead the survey, their lead has been diminished continually over the past decade. And although Hyundai sibling Kia continues to struggle with its quality -- it finished seventh-worst in the survey -- Korea-badged vehicles passed both European and U.S.-branded vehicles in quality this year.

"A decade ago, as Korean manufacturers struggled with a universally poor reputation for vehicle quality, no one would have predicted they could not only keep pace but actually pass domestics and other imports in terms of initial quality," said Joe Ivers, a J.D. Power and Associates partner, in a release. "The question now is whether Hyundai can demonstrate this same level of improvement in terms of new-vehicle launch and long-term vehicle quality."

Said Brian Walters, senior director of vehicle research with J.D. Power and Associates: "Hyundai has done its homework and really understands the U.S. consumer. What Hyundai has gone through is really no different from what the Japanese carmakers went through," with quality problems in the 1970s.

Hyundai leaped from 10th place in last year's study. Hyundai has cut the number of quality problems by 57 percent over the past six years, dropping from 272 problems per 100 vehicles in 1998. Hyundai's gains could partly be attributed to its relatively small number of cars and sport utility vehicles, and the carmaker could be challenged if it expands its lineup, which has hurt Nissan and Porsche, Walters said.

Hyundai Motor Group in the Early 2010s

During the 2000s and 2010s, under the management of group chairman Chung Mong-koo and his son Eui-sun, Hyundai Motors aimed to catch up with global players The Korea Herald reported: It actively invested in manufacturing plants in countries such as the United States, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and the Czech Republic as well as research and development centers in Europe, Asia, North America and the Pacific Rim. The U.S. assembly line in Montgomery, Alabama was established in 2004 at a cost of $1.7 billion. It marked the company’s second attempt at rolling out cars in North America since Hyundai Auto Canada Inc.’s plant in Quebec closed in 1993. Affiliate Kia Motors is operating assembly lines in countries including the U.S., China and Slovakia. [Source: Korean Herald, January 14, 2013]

:The company has been rolling out 1 million vehicles annually in China, 600,000 units in India, 300,000 units in the United States, 300,000 units in the Czech Republic, 200,000 units in Russia and 100,000 units in Turkey. Under chairman Chung Mong-koo’s initiative toward global management, it took about a decade for the automotive group to set up assembly lines in Brazil, Russia, India and China as well as the U.S. and Europe.

While Hyundai and Kia have secured the combined annual production capacity of 3.69 million units in the overseas market, their capacity is projected to expand to 4.09 million units over the next two years. Hyundai seeks to increase its Turkish plant’s capacity by 100,000 units and by 2013 and Kia is scheduled to complete a third plant in China by 2014.

The automotive group has pushed for “glocalization,” a term referring to strategies for garnering locals’ sincere support in areas where plants are located. It actively recruited locals as well as offering them many training opportunities for automobile industry-related skills. Thanks to its contributions to vitalization in the regional economies, Hyundai and Kia enjoy business-friendly environments provided by municipal governments.

The two firms saw their production of vehicles in the overseas market outpace their domestic performance for the first time last year. Hyundai Motor reported year-on-year sales growth of 8.6 percent in 2012. Its vehicle sales increased by about 350,000 units to around 4.4 million units ? an all-time high ? in 2012, from 4.05 million units a year earlier. Its sales growth of 10.9 percent in the overseas market offset the 2.3 percent drop at home. It sold about 3.73 million units in the overseas market including the United States, China and Europe, compared with 3.36 million units in 2011. Hyundai said its sales from factories in China and the Czech Republic grew about 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Kia reported a 7.1 percent growth in yearly sales ? from 2.53 million units in 2011 to 2.72 million units in 2012. Overseas shipments led the increase, with about 2.23 million Kia vehicles sold, up 9.4 percent on year, while domestic sales dipped 2.2 percent to 482,060 units.

In China, the world’s largest automobile market, Hyundai Motor Group is speeding up its mid-term project to overtake General Motors in vehicle sales in China by expanding its manufacturing capacity. Though Volkswagen maintains the No. 1 position in the Chinese market, the sales gap between GM and Hyundai Motor-Kia Motors has narrowed.

The group is also closely competing with Toyota Motor to become the No. 1 in automobile sales in Africa, posting a monthly sales growth rate of about 50 percent on average. Hyundai holds the No. 2 position, with a share of about 12 percent, in the fast-growing African market while Toyota captured 14.7 percent of the market. Thanks to strong marketing over the past few years, Hyundai has surpassed Toyota in five major countries — Algeria, Angola, Morocco, Egypt and the Republic of South Africa. As sales in the five nations account for more than 80 percent of all automobile sales on the continent, the competition between the two Asian automakers is likely to get fiercer.

Hyundai in China

Hyundai was the fastest-growing foreign automaker in China in 2009. Beijing Hyundai is a joint venture between the South Korean car maker Hyundai and Beijing Automotive Industry. It tripled sales in 2004 and was the top seller of cars in the first quarter of 2005. It sold 56,100 cars, up 160 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Hyundai makes Elantra compact cars and Sonata sedans It appears that its timing was good. It appeared on the scene in China with cheap cars just as the market for small cars was really beginning to take off.

In 2004 Hyundai Motors broke off a deal with DaimlerChrysler to make trucks in Asia and struck a deal with China’s Jianghuai Automobile Company to make trucks in China at a new $780 million plant in Anhui Province. The plant is scheduled to open in 2006 and produce 90,000 trucks. 10,000 buses and 50,000 van engines by 2010.

In April 2008, Hyundai opened a second plant in China. The $790 million plant outside of Beijing has a production capacity of 300,000 vehicles a year, doubling its total production capacity to 600,000 vehicles. In 2014, Hyundai ranked first in sales of small sized cars in China with Verna model (Accent model in Korea).

How Korean Car Makers Challenged the Japanese

In June 2015, Doron Levin wrote in Fortune: “Hyundai and Kia’s achievement was made official: Korean cars had eclipsed Japanese autos in quality. J.D. Power rated the mass-market auto brands tops for initial quality, with Kia just behind No. 1 Porsche and Hyundai, No. 4 behind Jaguar. For the sister automakers, the endorsement was sweet recognition; but it hardly shocked a global industry of competitors and analysts that had been tracking their steady improvement for a decade. The strategies that Hyundai and Kia used to leapfrog Japanese brands like Toyota and German brands like Mercedes-Benz proved not just straightforward, deliberate and stunningly effective – but more or less transparent to those who bothered to watch. [Source: Doron Levin, Fortune, June 29, 2015]

“The remarkable reversal of fortune that vaulted Hyundai and Kia past the Japanese auto industry, in terms of the initial quality of their vehicles, can be traced to three factors. Chief among them was a commitment to quality. Hyundai – which controls the two affiliated South Korean brands – recognized that quality was poor and that without vast improvement the automakers had no chance of succeeding in the U.S. In 1998, Hyundai enacted a consistent and dedicated corporate directive to place quality before all else. “The laser-like focus on quality began to be measured, written into performance reviews and everything else the companies were doing,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar Inc., in an interview. Krafcik joined Hyundai in 2004 served until 2013 as chief executive of its U.S. operations.

Don Southerton, a U.S.-based specialist in Korean culture and a consultant to Hyundai and Kia, explained in an interview that “both companies maintained a single message about quality that hasn’t wavered in all those years, supported by the belief that you have to end up with this kind of results.” Prior to the release of a new model Sonata midsize sedan built in Alabama, which now competes against such stalwarts as Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion, engineers “took it apart again and again and again until they were satisfied they’d uncovered every potential problem or defect,” Southerton said.

Hyundai Motor Sales Fall As Fails to Capitalize on SUV Boom.

Hyunjoo Jin of Reuters wrote: “South Korean automaker has been hit by its exposure to weak emerging markets, and a product line-up that features more sedans than sport utility vehicles, just as SUVs have become more popular across many global markets. The belt-tightening — which also includes cutting back on printing and fluorescent light bulbs — aims to buy Hyundai time to prepare new models and a design revamp. “We’re trying to address a mismatch between the market trend and our product line-up,” said one Hyundai insider, referring to a need for more SUV models. “That’s a longer term plan. For now we’re trying to save every penny,” he said, declining to be identified because the plans are not public. [Source: Hyunjoo Jin, Reuters, December 26, 2016]

“Since October, Hyundai Motor Group executives have taken a 10 percent pay cut, the first such move in seven years. The number of executives at Hyundai Motor alone has risen by 44 percent in five years, to 293 last year. The group has also downgraded hotel rooms for executive travel, and is encouraging video conferencing as a cheaper alternative to travel, insiders said. “We’re in emergency management mode,” said another insider, who didn’t want to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

“Hyundai Motor said it is “making various cost-saving efforts”, with shrinking global demand and growing business uncertainty, but did not elaborate. Other costs, such as low-margin supplier parts and labor at the heavily-unionized automaker, are tougher to pare back, said Ko Tae-bong, analyst at Hi Investment & Securities, noting Hyundai needs also to spend more on research and development in self-driving and other new technologies.

“Hyundai grew quickly after the global financial crisis, with brisk sales of its Sonata and Elantra sedans. It was the only major automaker to increase sales in the United States in 2009. But it has struggled to maintain that momentum as rivals’ sales of SUVs have boomed and emerging market economies have weakened. Hyundai Motor shares have fallen 40 percent in the past three years, the worst performer among global automakers. The automaker’s top U.S. executive has resigned, and the South Korea sales chief and China head have been replaced.

Sales of Hyundai cars, and those of its affiliate Kia Motors, could drop to 8 million this year, a first decline since Hyundai bought its smaller domestic rival in 1998, said Ko, the analyst. For next year, Hyundai-Kia Executive Vice President and research head Park Hong-jae, expects sales to pick up again. “It was a difficult year this year. Things will get better,” he told reporters on Thursday, citing recovery in markets such as Brazil and Russia. Another Hyundai source said the group has trimmed its preliminary 2017 sales target to 8.2 million vehicles, from 8.35 million forecast in mid-year.

“At its plant in Montgomery, Alabama, Hyundai has replaced some Sonata production with its popular Santa Fe SUV.” In 2017, “Hyundai will look to plug a gap in its SUV offerings for developed markets by making a sub-compact model — under the project name “OS” — in South Korea for sale at home, in the United States and Europe, people inside the company said. Hyundai makes sub-compact SUVs locally in China, India and Russia. In sedans, Hyundai is pushing sales of bigger, higher-margin models like the Azera, or Grandeur, and its Genesis luxury line. Its smaller sedans, including the Elantra and Sonata, have lost ground to rivals like Honda Motor’s (7267.T) Civic, which one Hyundai executive said has “wowing design”. Hyundai is working on a next generation of cars with “a different flair” to hit the market from 2019, Luc Donckerwolke, senior vice president for design, told Reuters.

Chung Mong-koo’s Son Chung Euisun Takes Over Hyundai Motors

In October 2020. Chung Mong-koo’s son Chung Euisun officially took over Hyundai Motors Kim Jaewon of Nikkei reported: Hyundai Motor Group heir Chung Euisun has officially taken over the world's fifth-largest automaker from his ailing father, becoming the third generation of the founding family to lead the company. Hyundai announced that Chung was named chairman of the group with the endorsement of board members of Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis. Chung's father, Mong-koo, 82, resigned from the top job and given the title of honorary chairman. The group said Chung Mong-koo asked his son to lead the company recently, expressing his wish to step down. The senior Chung was hospitalized in July for diverticulitis, a gastrointestinal disease. [Source: Kim Jaewon, Nikkei, October 14, 2020]

“The announcement comes as Hyundai attempt to transform itself from an automaker into a "mobility solutions company" by developing autonomous driving and flying car technology. Hyundai is also investing in hydrogen fuel cars, as a bet on the next-generation energy. "Our world-class hydrogen fuel cell technology will be used not only in automobiles, but also in various fields as an eco-friendly energy solution for the future of humanity," the younger Chung said in a statement. "We will also realize the future of our imagination through robotics, urban air mobility, smart city and other innovations."

“But the company is struggling to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused its global sales to drop sharply. Hyundai Motor's sales fell 19.4 percent to 2.6 million units in the first three quarters from a year ago. The company is also involved in a recall of its flagship electric vehicle, the Kona SUV. After announcing an initial voluntary recall in South Korea due to a risk of fire, the company announced it is expanding the recall to the U.S. and potentially other overseas markets.

Hyundai Plants

Hyundai Motor’s Ulsan Plant in Ulsan, South Korea is the world's single largest automobile plant (See Below). There are two more plants in South Korean. The Asan Plant is a state-of-the-art self-sufficient factory. It Manufactures passenger vehicles for export like the Sonata, and Grandeur(Azera) and operates environment-friendly solar farm on rooftops. The Jeonju Plant is a base for manufacturing global commercial vehicles The world's biggest production center for commercial vehicles

Overseas Plants: 1) Alabama Plant produces standard models for Hyundai Motor’s overseas plants. It topped the Harbor Report’s North American automaker productivity survey for six consecutive years for the press factory, and five consecutive years for engine and assembly factory 2) China Plants has annual manufacturing capacity of 1,050,000 vehicles in three factories. There are plans to build 4th and 5th factories with a total manufacturing capacity of 300,000 vehicles. 4) India Plant is a manufacturing base for emerging markets such as India with flexible engine plants, producing strategic vehicles such as EON , Catholic and i20.

5) Czech Plant manufactures cars for the Europe market and is focused on strategic vehicles such as i-series. It was awarded the ‘Excellence Award’ in Czech National Award for Quality. 6) The Turkey Plant was the first Hyundai Motor’s overseas plant. It manufactured a than 1 million vehicles in 2014. 7) The Russia Plant manufactures strategic model Solaris (Accent) focused on the local market. It received the Russian Government Quality Award in 2014. 8) The Brazil Plant is located in Sao Paulo. It manufactures for the local market and focused strategic vehicles such as the HB20.

Hyundai’s Ulsan Plant: the Largest Car Factory in the World

Hyundai Motor’s Ulsan Plant in Ulsan, South Korea is the world's single largest automobile plant. It has five independent manufacturing plants, including engine and transmission plants as well as export shipment docks and test drive and crash test sites. The Ulsan plant builds 1.5 million cars a year — the equivalent of 5,600 cars a day, or one every 20 seconds — thanks to 34,000 personnel and berths where three 50,000 ton ships can anchor simultaneously. It's also known as the 'forest plant', because it has 580,000 trees landscaped within it as well as its own fire station, hospital, and patrol cars. The state-of-the-art facilities to preserve the environment includes a waste water disposal plant. [Source: Hyundai, Korea Tourism Organization]

Graham Hope wrote in If anyone ever doubted the scale of Hyundai's ambition, one visit to its plant in Ulsan, South Korea, is all that it takes to convince even the most hardened sceptic that this is a firm that means business. Ulsan, truly, is the car manufacturing facility to top them all. The numbers are so mind-boggling that it's hard to know where to start to convey the sheer vastness of the operation. Across a total of 15 million square metres - the equivalent of 700 football pitches - five different factories produce 14 different models that are shipped right around the world, including to the UK. (The Santa Fe, Veloster, Genesis and i40 sold in British showrooms all started life at Ulsan, and the Ioniq is on its way.) There are also engine and transmission factories, plus a dedicated operation to create the ix35 fuel cell model (at the rate of one a day). From production line to port, Ulsan has it down to a fine art, setting a blueprint for efficient production on a huge scale virtually every car maker in the world would love to emulate. [Source: Graham Hope, March 28 2016]

Even more amazing is how swiftly the plant has evolved. It was in 1968 that the first model - a Ford Cortina - was assembled there, and it took a further seven years before Hyundai constructed the first of its own models, the Pony. Now Ulsan is unrecognisable from those modest beginnings. A stroll round factory three - annual production 400,000 - revealed it to be the hive of orderly industry you would expect. Yes, there was a reasonable degree of automation, but it was abundantly clear everyone knew their job inside out and took great pride in doing it well. Of course, when you're making 92 cars an hour - and have produced nearly 10 million Elantras since 1990 - how could it be any different?

Tour Information: Places visited: Culture Hall (promotion hall), No. 1 Factory, No. 2 Factory, No. 3 Factory, No. 4 Factory, No. 5 Factory, Engine- Gearbox Factory, Driving testing site, Asan-ro, Export dock. Duration: approximately one hour. Group tour: Only available by bus (not available for car or van). Individual tour (including family visitors) available for 7 individuals or fewer High Season: March-June and September-November (reservations must be made in advance). For safety reasons, visitors must be over the age of 12, and must be at least 130 centimeters in height unless accompanied by a legal guardian (up to 2 children for each guardian).Tours cannot be taken the same day as an application is submitted. For group tours, conditions may vary by the purpose of the tour. Please contact directly for more information. Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00am-4:00pm. Closed Weekends and national holidays Maximum Occupancy: 180 people Address: 700 Yangjeong-dong, Buk-gu, Ulsan-si; Inquiries: 1330 Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese); For more info: +82-52-280-2232~5 Homepage

Workers at Hyundai’s Ulsan Plant

Graham Hope wrote in No less than 34,000 employees work at the plant, on a two-shift system - from 6:45am to 3:30pm, then 3:30pm to 12:30am. And some even live there, too, with more than 1,000 sleeping in dormitory accommodation on site. Remarkably, in theory there's scope for Ulsan to become even more productive, as the plant runs for only five days a week, shutting at weekends and for a full week in summer. [Source: Graham Hope, March 28 2016]

“Slightly more eye-opening were the facilities for the workers. We passed one water feature, entitled 'Green Park', intended to create a more pleasant working environment. It was probably paid for via the annual £2.1m landscaping bill (there are 590,000 trees at Ulsan). We were also told that each worker receives a free lunch every day, a legacy of a promise once made by company founder Chung Ju-Yung. And with 24 restaurants on site, there's no chance of anyone going hungry. Indeed, it's fair to say the workers are treated pretty well at Ulsan. The city is known as the richest in South Korea, and has the highest income per capita of any conurbation on the peninsula. With an estimated 660,000 jobs in the city related to Hyundai in one way or another - from a population of around 1.3 million - the locals have a lot to be grateful for.

At the plant itself, the drivers are among those who attract the highest wages, reputedly earning around £71,000 per annum. Their job is simple - they test every single car produced at Ulsan, then take them down to the plant's own docks. Yes, that's right... Ulsan has its own docking area, with berths for three ships. And why not? With 6,000 motors a day rolling off the lines, they need to be exported pretty swiftly. With an average ship taking 4,000 cars - and 10 hours to fill - loading is a seven-day operation, meaning some drivers work 350 days a year, hence the high wages.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.

Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2021

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