Hyundai Motor Group has set a record-high budget with its 2012 investment in two major sectors ― facilities and research & development.
The automotive group said Thursday that its investment target for next year comes to 14.1 trillion won ($12.3 billion), up 15.6 percent from its 2011 investment.
Of the 14.1 trillion won investment, 5.1 trillion won will be used for the R&D sector and the remaining 9 trillion won will be allocated to facilities development, the group said in a statement.
Its investment in the R&D sector will mostly be focused on development of futuristic cars, such as eco-friendly hybrids and electric vehicles.
In particular, more than 80 percent will be invested at home under its business policy to boost the domestic demand.
In addition, Hyundai Motor Group plans to create about 7,500 jobs next year. It will hire 6,500 employees and select 1,000 internship workers among college students.
|Chairman Chung Mong-koo|
Hyundai spokespeople stress that development of eco-friendly cars will be the group’s core investment target.
Following the sales of the Sonata hybrid and the K5 hybrid in 2011, the group is aiming to launch a variety of hybrid models next year.
The group plans to carry out role-sharing between Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors in developing eco-friendly cars.
Hyundai Motor will take on developing models of “plug-in hybrids,” which utilize rechargeable batteries, and hydrogen-powered “fuel cell vehicles.”
Kia Motors will mainly focus on “electric drive vehicles” which use electric motors or traction motors for propulsion.
While Hyundai and Kia have joined the growing market for hybrid electric vehicles later than rivals, the hybrid Sonata of Hyundai and K5 Kia come with significant improvements to existing hybrid automobiles to give them an edge in the market.
While Hyundai-Kia had introduced hybrid electric vehicles based on the compact cars Avante and Forte with liquefied natural gas-electric powertrain, the hybrid Sonata and K5 are their first gasoline-electric hybrids.
According to group spokesmen, the electric motor fitted in the two hybrid models is 18 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than those used in hybrid electric vehicles from rival carmakers.
Under the chairman’s instruction, Hyundai Motor has the goal of overtaking Toyota Motor in sales of hybrid sedans in the U.S. The Sonata hybrid has ranked second following the Japanese carmaker’s Prius hybrid.
A noteworthy point is that the newcomer Sonata hybrid outpaced other hybrid models, such as Toyota’s Camry, Honda’s Insight, Honda’s CR-Z and Ford Motor’s Fusion, in sales growth.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org)