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(2nd LD) Hyundai to invest US$5 bln in U.S. for robotics, autonomous driving development

Industry 14:53 May 22, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with Biden's comment in 7th para; ADDS background in last 5 paras and 2nd photo)

SEOUL, May 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group said Sunday it will invest an additional US$5 billion in the United States for robotics and autonomous driving software development, just a day after announcing a similar size investment to build an electric vehicle plant in the U.S.

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung made the latest announcement in his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, who was in Seoul for his three-day visit.

"Hyundai Motor Group plans to invest an additional $5 billion through 2025, which will strengthen our collaboration with American enterprises in diverse technologies, such as robotics, urban air mobility, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence," the chairman said. "This will enable us to grow into a company that offers better convenience and safety to our customers."

U.S. President Joe Biden guides Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung to the podium for the announcement of an additional investment in the U.S. at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in central Seoul on May 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

Through the investments, the group will provide U.S. customers with innovative products and solutions, and contribute to global carbon neutrality efforts, Chung said.

"We also stand ready to work towards achieving the Biden administration's goal of achieving 40 to 50 percent zero (emission) EV sales in the United States by 2030," he said.

Biden said auto companies, the American United Auto Workers and federal governors all understand the same basic thing that "Electric vehicles are good for our climate goals, but they're also good for jobs, and they're good for business."

"Investing aggressively in electric vehicles and battery production now, not tomorrow, is also important in strengthening our long-term economic security and accelerating progress towards a clean energy future," Biden said.

Global carmakers have been racing to go eco-friendly amid tightened regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases, which scientists say are to blame for global warming.

As for details of the planned investments, Hyundai said the company has yet to decide on whether to invest in robotics through Boston Dynamics, Inc. or M&As.

The group acquired the U.S.-based robotics firm Boston Dynamics for $880 million in June last year to strengthen its competitiveness in future mobility solutions.

It didn't provide detailed plans either for investments in other sectors.

The announcement came a day after the South Korean auto giant said it will invest $5.54 billion to build a dedicated electric vehicle and car battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. state of Georgia to further solidify its electrification push in the world's most important automobile market.

Hyundai Motor Group plans to start construction on the 300,000-unit-a-year EV facility in January 2023 and begin production in the first half of 2025.

The group's nonaffiliated suppliers will invest an additional $1 billion in the plant, generating at least 8,100 new jobs in Georgia, Hyundai said.

Last month, Hyundai Motor Co. announced it will invest $300 million in its Alabama plant that will begin production of the Santa Fe gasoline hybrid model and the all-electric GV70 SUV under its luxury Genesis brand later this year.

Hyundai Motor plans to roll out 17 EV models by 2030, including six Genesis models, with its smaller affiliate Kia scheduled to release 14 EVs by 2027.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker, aim to sell 3.23 million EVs, including 840,000 units in the U.S., in 2030 to account for 12 percent of the global EV market.

This file photo provided by Hyundai Motor Group shows Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Corp.'s headquarter buildings in southern Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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