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Hyundai Motor Group is the umbrella for South Korea's two biggest car brands, Hyundai and Kia. Emulating the success of Japanese rival Toyota, Korea's Hyundai secured a position as Asia's second largest auto manufacturer in 2009, and is currently the global #5. It is the most successful offshoot from the former Hyundai industrial conglomerate, which split itself up into separate businesses in 2003, though innumerable cross-shareholdings remain between all the various Hyundai-branded subsidiaries. Each business has enjoyed very different degrees of success since then. The car operations reported dramatic and impressive growth during the 2000s, while the remaining parts of the group wrestled with substantial debts and declining performance. Yet Hyundai Motors too has seen its previously meteoric growth slow dramatically. Performance, especially in South Korea, was dented by a succession of strikes by the country's notoriously outspoken labour unions. Hyundai workers called walkouts in five consecutive years from 2011 to 2016. The group was also slower than rivals to shift its primary focus away from its traditional mainstay of sedan cars to the SUVs which buyers now demand in most important markets. Hyundai and Kia operate independently of one another but are both controlled and run by the Chung family. Chung Mong-Koo, son of the group's original founder, is chairman and controlling shareholder. Automobiles and auto parts and components represent by far the biggest business within the wider Hyundai empire, accounting for almost two thirds of combined revenues of approx $235bn. Other businesses are involved in construction, engineering, steel manufacturing, financial services, real estate and hotels. The group also houses its own advertising and marketing services division, Innocean Worldwide. In 2020, Hyundai Motor Group acquired an 80% stake in US company Boston Dynamics, best-known for its animalistic military robots.
Combined registrations for Hyundai Motor Group were 7.27m vehicles in 2019, but fell back in 2020 to 6.52m. Hyundai is the bigger of the two brands, positioned as a "modern premium" brand somewhere between mass-market Ford or Chevrolet and lower end luxury models produced by BMW or Audi. Chang "Jay" Jae Joon succeeded Lee Won-Hee as CEO in 2020. Global sales peaked at almost 5.0m vehicles in 2015, but declined sharply over the next two years, and have yet to recover lost ground. The figure for 2020 was 3.74m sales, a ten-year low. Hyundai is the clear leader in its domestic market with sales of 788k units, equivalent to over 41% market share. (Kia is the #2 with almost 38% share). China, once an even bigger market, has been in steady decline for several years, with sales plunging to 440k units in 2020. The US is now Hyundai's second largest market at 622k units. The Tucson SUV is Hyundai's best-selling model overall, at 461k units. It overtake previous leader the Elantra sedan in 2018. That slumped by more than a quarter in 2020 to 315k. Other top sellers are the Kona, Creta and Sonata. The company also has its own luxury division, Genesis, equivalent to Toyota's Lexus or Nissan's Infiniti, but much smaller in terms of sales. Hyundai Motor Company revenues were approx $88.2bn (KWon 104.0tn) in 2020, with net profit of approx $1.6bn (KWon 1.9tn). Hyundai has been a sponsor of FIFA football tournaments, including the World Cup, since 1999 and was joined by Kia from 2006. The partnership currently runs to at least 2022. The group also supports UEFA football tournaments in Europe, ICC cricket, FIS ski jumping, PGA golf and, since 2015, the US NFL.
Capsule checked 21st May 2021
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Historical profile information for Hyundai Group
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Jan 2021: "Peace At Last". Enya's 'Orinoco Flow' is one of those pieces of music that until now this writer has always found twee and also grossly over used. But there are some contexts in which its use is wholly appropriate. This is one such example. The Australian outpost of Innocean have conjured a brilliantly funny and totally absurd fantasy for Hyundai in which the use of Enya's billion-selling hit works perfectly. That shift from in-car domestic strife to peaceful bliss is brilliantly handled, and a couple of these sight gags made me laugh out loud. Thank you Enya, all is forgiven.
Adbrands Daily Update 18th Nov 2020: "I'm In Charge". Hyundai has really thrown some budget behind the new global campaign for its all-electric Ioniq model. Jung von Matt developed the lavishly mounted globe-trotting launch ad, which features a broad collection of significant sustainability-minded ambassadors, from fashion designer Maria Cornejo and explorer David de Rothschild to French dancer Kevin Bago and K-pop superstars BTS. ...Though to be honest but we're not sure how serious BTS are about environmental issues. No offense but they're probably there primarily to add spice in Hyundai's domestic market. Their endorsement must have cost four times as much as everyone else combined. Lovely pictures and an admirable message.
Adbrands Social Media 30th Jan 2019: "The Elevator". Kia Motors was one of the first brands to sneak-peek its Super Bowl campaign. It said it would redirect the cash it usually invests in celebrity ambassadors to endow a scholarship fund to "help young people in need get a foothold in higher education." And how about its sister brand Hyundai? Nah, celebrities are good with us, bro. Innocean USA's funny spot puts comic actor Jason Bateman in charge of an elevator to hell. A visit to the car dealer, suggests the ad, is usually worse even than root canal surgery or a vegan dinner party. But not with Hyundai's Shopper Assurance scheme.
Adbrands Social Media 16th Jul 2018: Some really lovely touches in Innocean Australia's latest campaign for Hyundai. Every family knows the full horror of those back seat battles on interminable car journeys. And let's face it, the journeys really are interminable in the vastness of Australia, where it takes you an hour just to pop out for a carton of milk. Buckethead vs Stupid-face! Marvellous! Only problem is that, after an excellent first 30 seconds, the agency couldn't come up with a good way to round off the spot. One last gag would have been the cherry on top. Oh well. Still great.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Jan 2018: Volkswagen Group widened its lead as the world's biggest carmaker in 2017, with sales rising almost 4% to 10.41m cars and trucks. Toyota held 2nd place at 10.16m, but faces a growing threat from its Franco-Japanese rival. The addition of Mitsubishi to the Renault-Nissan Alliance puts that group close behind at 10.12m units. Hyundai Kia delivered the worst performance of any leading manufacturer, with sales down almost 9%, but held on to 4th place; General Motors stayed in the 5th spot, despite the sale of Opel/Vauxhall to PSA. Ford, Honda, FCA, PSA and Suzuki rounded out the remaining places in the Top Ten. In terms of individual brands, Toyota was safe in 1st place at 8.71m cars, ahead of VW at 6.83m units and Ford's 6.17m. However, Honda powered up two places to 5th position as a result of an 8% surge in sales, overtaking countrymate Nissan (up 4%), Hyundai slumped to 6th. Chevrolet, Kia, Renault and Mercedes rounded out the Top Ten.
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