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[CES 2020] Chung Euisun leads aggressive mobility drive with global firms

Hyundai Motor, Uber join hands to develop ‘the world’s top personal air vehicle’

Hyundai Motor Group’s Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun has been highlighting the conglomerate’s transformation into a mobility solution provider by partnering with global firms in the industry.

South Korea’s top auto group said Wednesday that it sealed a partnership with Uber at Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Las Vegas, to develop an urban air mobility business and create “the world’s top personal air vehicle.”
“Based on the collaboration with Uber, Hyundai Motor will actively seek to develop new technologies and businesses for humanity’s freedom of transportation,” Chung said upon the deal, according to a press release.

Chung, 51, has been leading an aggressive drive to transform the South Korean automotive group from a vehicle manufacturer into a future mobility and related solution provider. 


Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (left) and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi pose for a photo after signing a partnership at Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (left) and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi pose for a photo after signing a partnership at Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Hyundai Motor Group

The heir apparent was named to the second-highest position at the auto empire in 2018. Since then, he has expedited investments in hydrogen cars and electric vehicles to take the lead in the mobility industry, amid growing protectionism in major automotive markets abroad.

In less than a two year-period, Chung has led partnerships with and investments in global mobility firms -- ride-sharing company Grab, Indian car-hailing company Ola, Croatia’s electric carmaker Rimac, self-driving startup Aurora and autonomous driving tech developer Aptiv -- focusing on next-generation mobility such as autonomous and connected cars.

According to Hyundai Motor, its latest partnership with Uber will synergize Hyundai Motor’s know-how in vehicle manufacturing and weight reduction and battery system development with Uber’s technology in building PAV and mobility service platform. The deal comes amid the firm’s CES presentation of its goal to break down the conventional transport concept by introducing urban air mobility (UAM), purpose-built vehicles (PBV) and mobility hubs.

Market experts viewed Hyundai Motor’s moves as innovative compared with Hyundai Group’s past business patterns.

“(Chung seems to have) thoroughly studied and fully understood the latest trend of mobility,” said Ko Tae-bong, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities.

“In the past, Hyundai Group had its own ‘speed’ and ‘DNA,’ which made the automotive arm of the group also come under high pressure for their mold. But under Chung’s leadership, it is moving in the right direction with right power.”

Professor Kim Ki-chan of Business at Catholic University said innovation comes down to the leadership taking risky responsibility for bottom-up ideas.

“With the age of labor nearing its end, the new era of idea and innovation is here. In that context, Chung has been empowering employees to come up with new ideas and is open to it,” he said.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)

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