SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) — Hyundai Motor Co. said it aims for half of its U.S. vehicle sales to be environment friendly models by 2030 while planning to produce electric vehicles in the world’s most important automobile market, a company executive has said.
Jose Munoz, Hyundai’s global chief operating officer, made the comments in an interview with a group of Korean reporters on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show 2022.
The South Korean carmaker is fully prepared to raise the proportion of eco-friendly vehicles in U.S. sales to 40-50 percent in the next eight years, given it is now equipped with a well-diversified portfolio and product competitiveness, the COO said.
He picked Hyundai’s strengthened SUV lineup, the rapid addition of electrified models to its lineup, and its improved image as a premium carmaker through the Genesis brand as key factors that boosted sales in the United States.
In the U.S. market, where demand for SUVs is on the rise, Hyundai sells the Tucson, Santa Fe, and Santa Cruz SUVs, and 65 percent of its U.S. sales are SUV models, he said.
Demand for its all-electric, plug-in hybrid and gasoline hybrid models has also been on the increase in recent years, rapidly catching up with its bigger rivals, such as BMW, Audi and Lexus, in terms of the pace of growth.
Zero-emission and less-emitting models account for around 10 percent of Hyundai’s overall U.S. sales, but the proportion is expected to rise over time.
Hyundai plans to launch EVs with the EV-dedicated IONIQ badge for U.S. consumers this year.
As for the U.S. production of EVs, the executive mentioned both Hyundai’s Alabama plant and Kia’s Georgia plant as production sites for EVs.
Hyundai Motor Group announced last year it will invest 8 trillion won (US$7.4 billion) in the U.S. by 2025 and the planned investments will cover those in U.S.-based startup Boston Dynamics, urban air mobility, and EV production in the U.S., Munoz said.
As for the biggest challenges ahead in the U.S. market, he said lack of semiconductor parts and logistics problems will remain major concerns for the automotive industry this year.
Citing Hyundai’s latest achievement in the U.S., he said Hyundai has beaten Honda Motor Co. in terms of brand awareness and is just behind Toyota Motors Corp. among Asian carmakers.
In 2021, Hyundai and Kia beat Honda to sell a combined 1.49 million vehicles in the U.S., and they are widely expected to sell over 1.5 million autos this year, spurred by new models.
This year, Hyundai aims to sell 4.32 million autos globally, 11 percent higher than its sales of 3.89 million units last year.