Hyundai's Renaissance: Euisun Chung's Vision
Once known as a rapid follower in the automotive industry, Hyundai Motor Group has undergone a remarkable transformation. Previously adept at mirroring competitors' moves rather than initiating trends, the conglomerate, comprising Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, is now spearheading innovation under the leadership of Executive Chair Euisun Chung. Chung, recognized as the Automotive News' 2023 Industry Leader of the Year, has propelled the group into a realm of groundbreaking technologies, marking a departure from its historical identity.
Chung's forward-thinking vision encompasses electric vehicles, hydrogen power, luxury cars, and purpose-built vehicles for future pod car fleets. The conglomerate, ranked as the world's third-largest auto group, is not only investing heavily in these domains but also venturing into advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, and urban air mobility. Chung's futuristic perspective extends to coining the term "metamobility" as he envisions the future of transportation in the metaverse—an abstract concept covering movement in all its forms, from traditional objects to communal spaces.
A testament to this ambitious shift is the group's commitment to inject approximately $50 billion into new technologies over the current decade. Euisun Chung, previously operating in relative obscurity on the global stage, has quietly transformed the company since taking the helm in 2020, succeeding his father, Mong-Koo Chung.
Chung's influence is evident in his emphasis on embracing risks, leading the industry by anticipating changes, and creating opportunities out of crises. Beyond expanding into new technological frontiers, Chung is revitalizing the core automotive business. This includes a substantial increase in investment and production of electric vehicles. Kia and Hyundai, under his leadership, have set ambitious targets for global EV sales, aiming to capture a significant share of the market by 2030.
In the critical U.S. market, group sales have surged, with the Genesis premium brand, launched under Chung's guidance in 2015, experiencing substantial growth. Chung's focus on design and creativity across all three brands has resulted in a transformation, turning Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis into aspirational, cutting-edge brands, shedding their old image of producing lackluster econoboxes.
Chung's youth, combined with a more international perspective gained through an MBA from the University of San Francisco, has played a crucial role in fostering a flatter organizational culture. He encourages creativity and quick decision-making, making Hyundai Motor Group more adaptable in the face of rapid industry changes.
Despite the group's embrace of futuristic technologies, Chung has also rekindled pride in Hyundai's humble beginnings. Commemorating the debut of the Hyundai Pony Concept in 1974, Chung highlighted the company's roots and its evolution into a global automotive giant. As the third-generation leader, Euisun Chung's overarching strategy blends traditional industry strengths with a forward-looking approach, positioning Hyundai Motor Group as a trailblazer amidst an era of transformative change in the automotive landscape.