The year was a rollercoaster, marked by tragedies of war in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, a global economic downturn, climate crisis, and the integration of AI technologies into daily life. Amidst these challenges, Hyundai Motor Group relentlessly pursued a better future for humanity and sustainable living. Here are the eight keywords that encapsulate their journey in 2023:
Hyundai Motor Group unleashed a variety of new models, energizing the market and expanding consumer choices. These ranged from innovative, genre-defining models to globally popular models with significant upgrades.
Hyundai consolidated its high-performance technology, electric vehicle development expertise, and motorsport experience to break new ground in the high-performance electric vehicle segment. The IONIQ 5 N, the first electrified model of the high-performance N brand, garnered global attention for brilliantly encapsulating the thrill of high-performance internal combustion engines in an electric format, based on Hyundai’s innovative E-GMP platform.
Kia launched the large electric SUV EV9, accelerating its transformation into an electrified mobility brand and reshaping the electric vehicle landscape. The EV9 stood out with its futuristic and robust design, versatile travel experience features, 180° rotatable second-row swivel seats, and comfortable third-row seating. It also showcased Kia’s commitment to sustainability, incorporating ten eco-friendly materials in its design.
Genesis introduced the GV80 Coupe, venturing into the coupe-style SUV genre, catering to consumers who enjoy luxury life. The GV80 Coupe featured a sleekly descending roofline, emphasizing the elegance unique to coupe models. It came equipped with a high-performance gasoline 3.5 turbo electric supercharger engine, sports active sound design, sports plus driving mode, and launch control for dynamic driving experiences.
Hyundai’s global models also underwent significant transformations. The Kona, a small SUV that rose to prominence since its debut in 2017, evolved into its second generation with a development strategy focused on electric vehicles. The fifth-generation Santa Fe redefined vehicle interiors with a new design approach, drawing considerable attention.
Kia revealed improved models of the popular mid-size SUV Sorento and family minivan Carnival. Both models reflected Kia’s new design philosophy, ‘Opposites United,’ and were revamped with a more futuristic and sophisticated design, enhanced convenience, and safety specifications. Notably, the Carnival was equipped with a hybrid powertrain for the first time, responding to the high market demand for eco-friendly RVs.
Beyond mass-produced new models, Hyundai Motor Group’s concept cars, embodying the company’s product development philosophy, passion, and future direction, also garnered significant attention. Hyundai revived the heritage of its first-ever model, the Pony Coupe Concept, bringing its legacy into the present and completing a narrative that connects the past, present, and future.
The Pony Coupe Concept, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in the mid-1970s and meticulously restored to its original form, rode the ‘newtro’ wave, receiving global acclaim. The overwhelming response to the design of the Pony Coupe Concept, which was also adopted in last year’s high-performance R&D rolling lab model, ‘N Vision 74,’ led to a surge of affectionate support and interest from consumers wishing for a restoration of the past design.
Kia unveiled two new EV concept models at Kia EV Day, declaring its vision to propel electric vehicle mass adoption. The compact electric SUV EV3 concept emphasized futuristic sense and dynamism, while the sedan-style EV4 concept introduced a new design type for electric sedans. Both concept models creatively expressed innovative designs through the simplicity and volumetric beauty based on Kia’s design philosophy.
Kia plans to introduce the production versions of the EV3 and EV4, along with the EV5 launched earlier this year in China, in South Korea by 2025. The company also aims to establish a lineup of 15 different EV models by 2027, catering to the global market’s regional characteristics. Additionally, Kia plans to offer a variety of Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs) tailored to meet diverse consumer needs in terms of form, function, and performance, further advancing into an EV-centric mobility era.
Hyundai Motor Group’s mobility technology innovations received as much attention as their new cars this year. First, Kia Connect Store, Kia’s On Demand Service, is implemented in Kia’s electric flagship SUV, the EV9, for the first time by Hyundai Motor Group. This digital option allows users to purchase features not initially chosen at the time of car purchase at any point later on.
Current digital features available through the Kia Connect Store include ‘RSPA 2’, supporting remote parking and exit assistance, ‘Lighting Pattern’ that offers customizable digital pattern grilles, and ‘Streaming Plus’ for enjoying video and audio content in the car. These features, while not essential for everyone, add a layer of luxury and convenience to mobility life.
The emergence of services like Kia Connect Store is due to the latest mobility transitioning to ‘Software Defined Vehicles (SDV)’, where cars evolve centered around software, capable of controlling various functions and upgrading online. Hyundai Motor Group announced a vision in 2022 to standardize software architecture by 2025 and apply wireless software updates to all models, leading the transition to the SDV era.
The latter half of 2023 saw attention drawn to various high-performance electrification technologies equipped in the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N. The IONIQ 5 N garnered attention not just for its enhanced output but for its specialized specifications like N Race, N Pedal, and N Battery Preconditioning, considering actual track driving to ensure battery and brake durability and improve lap times.
Technologies that intensify the joy of everyday driving, such as N Active Sound+ that virtually recreates engine and exhaust sounds and N e-Shift that emulates the exhilarating shift feel of internal combustion N models, add to the thrill.
The IONIQ 5 N, with its array of high-performance specialized specifications, stands as a testament to Hyundai’s belief and development philosophy in preserving the joy of driving in the electrification era, underpinned by SDV technology. In essence, the IONIQ 5 N is a successful example of an SDV transforming potential into reality.
Besides technologies applied to mass-produced cars, various advanced technologies destined for future mobility also appeared this year, promising to make our lives safer and more convenient. Hyundai Mobis’ ‘Head Rotation Prevention Airbag’ minimizes head injuries by applying protrusions (auxiliary chambers) that inhibit head rotation during vehicle collisions. This technology, which creates a large cushion by maximizing the pressure of the protrusion at the moment of side collision, has been recognized for its excellent safety, receiving full marks in the ‘Head Rotation Injury (BRIC)’ category in the new crash safety tests by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Hyundai Mobis’ ‘Airbag Total Package’ developed for PBVs also received attention as an innovative future airbag technology. PBVs, based on skateboard platforms and designed for autonomous driving, will offer a more convenient travel experience with spacious interiors. Accordingly, Hyundai Mobis has developed airbag solutions that can protect passengers in various seat arrangements.
Hyundai Mobis’ in-wheel motor technology, the ‘e-Corner System’, attracted attention for enhancing convenience in mobility. The in-wheel motor, which mounts a drive motor on each wheel to independently control driving, steering, and braking, maximizes drive efficiency and allows for diverse interior space utilization, making it a key technology for future mobility.
Additionally, the ability to freely control each wheel enables 360° rotation in place and sideways driving like a crab. This technology allows for convenient parking in tight spaces and easy exit from dead-end streets without the need to reverse, promising to significantly change our future mobility experiences.
Hyundai Motor Group has significantly progressed in manufacturing innovation since announcing its smart factory ecosystem ‘E-FOREST’ in 2020, utilizing AI, robotics, digital transformation, future ICT, and big data. And 2023 marks a monumental year as the vision of E-FOREST comes to fruition.
Hyundai Motor Group recently successfully completed the inauguration ceremony for the ‘Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore (HMGICS)’, which began construction in Singapore in 2020. HMGICS, featuring advanced technology like AI and robotics in its cell-based automated flexible production system, digital twin technology for efficient production operations, data-driven intelligent operation systems, and human-centered manufacturing processes, has fully realized the blueprint of E-FOREST.
With the capacity to produce over 30,000 electric vehicles annually, HMGICS commenced operations early this year, manufacturing the Ioniq 5 and autonomous robotaxis. Its flexible production system for multiple models lays the groundwork for the E-FOREST smart factory ecosystem.
The innovative manufacturing platform developed and proven at HMGICS will be introduced into Hyundai Motor Group’s upcoming electric vehicle-dedicated smart factories, including the Hyundai Ulsan EV Factory, Kia Hwaseong PBV Factory, and HMGMA (Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America) in Georgia, USA. These factories are set to complete and start production in 2025-2026, supporting Hyundai Motor Group’s electrification strategy to achieve a global electric vehicle production volume of 3.23 million units and become one of the top three global electric vehicle sellers by 2030.
Hyundai Motor Group’s global models continued their winning streak at various international automotive awards. Both Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands, from exceptional internal combustion engine models to electric vehicles with superior performance and innovative technology, received numerous accolades. Noteworthy global awards include:
At the 2023 World Car Awards, Hyundai’s IONIQ 6 clinched the main title of World Car of the Year, World Electric Vehicle, and World Car Design of the Year, making it a three-time winner. This follows the IONIQ 5, which achieved the same feat at the 2022 World Car Awards. Kia’s high-performance electric car, the EV6 GT, was named the World Performance Car at the same awards, highlighting Hyundai Motor Group’s exceptional electric vehicle technology.
Hyundai Motor Group’s electric vehicles received praise from globally renowned automotive media. Car and Driver, a leading American automotive magazine, named the IONIQ 6 the best electric vehicle of the year, following the IONIQ 5 in the previous year. TopGear, one of the UK’s top automotive magazines, selected the IONIQ 5 N as the Best Car of the Year and the EV9 as the Family Car of the Year. The IONIQ 6 and EV9 were also winners in the mid-size and family car categories, respectively, at the 2023 Golden Steering Wheel Awards hosted by Germany’s Auto Bild.
National automotive journalist associations also recognized Hyundai Motor Group’s electric vehicles. The IONIQ 5 was named 2023 Canada’s SUV of the Year and Green SUV of the Year, while the IONIQ 6 received multiple accolades, including 2023 Canada’s Green Car of the Year, 2024 Germany’s Car of the Year in the New Energy category, and 2023 Scotland’s Car of the Year. The newly released Kia EV9 was selected for the 2024 Germany’s Car of the Year in the Luxury category. In China, Genesis GV60 was named the SUV of the Year, following the G80’s win for China’s Car Design of the Year last year.
Hyundai Motor Group models are expected to continue their success in 2024. Finalists for major automotive awards, including the North American Car of the Year, European Car of the Year, and World Car Awards, feature several models from the group. The Hyundai Kona (including the electric model), Kia EV9, and the Genesis GV70 electrified model are finalists in the 2024 North American Car of the Year Utility category, with the Ioniq 6 among the finalists in the car category. Additionally, the EV9 is a finalist in the 2024 European Car of the Year, and in three categories (World Car of the Year, World Electric Car, and World Car Design) of the 2024 World Car Awards, indicating high expectations for Hyundai Motor Group’s continued success.
Hyundai Motor Group, apart from showcasing superior performance and product quality in new cars, has continuously engaged in activities befitting its status as a global conglomerate, focusing on social responsibility. The ‘Longest Run’, started in 2016, is an eco-running project to create a cleaner world free of fine dust. Participants contribute to planting trees and creating forests based on the distance they run together. Over eight years, approximately 230,000 participants have run 7 million km, significantly contributing to the creation of the IONIQ Forest in Incheon and on Shinsi Island. This year, 20,791 participants ran 632,259 km, and the total distance will contribute to planting endangered species of trees in the IONIQ Forest in Hongcheon next spring.
The ‘Big Idea for New Technology’ campaign, ongoing since 2015, is another flagship CSR activity of Hyundai Motor Group. The campaign, reflecting on the societal value of future mobility technologies for humanity, has garnered deep empathy and significant resonance each time it was revealed. This year, the ‘Heals on Wheels’ campaign introduced advanced technology in the ‘iCare Car’, a mobility service aiding in the smooth psychological counseling and rehabilitation of abused children. Since 2014, Hyundai Motor Group has supported the iCare Car vehicle project to improve mobility for child psychologists, providing 142 I-Care Cars to 66 child protection agencies nationwide by 2022.
Hyundai Motor Group’s CSR activities extend beyond borders. Hyundai Motor America has been running the ‘Hyundai Hope On Wheels’ campaign for 25 years, supporting projects developing treatments and providing financial aid for children suffering from pediatric cancer. Starting in 1998 with a partnership with Hyundai dealers in New England to support the Jimmy Fund of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the campaign now involves 830 U.S. dealers, contributing approximately $225 million to 175 hospitals and over 1,300 pediatric cancer projects.
Hyundai Motor Group launched a certified pre-owned car business this year, committing to providing reliable products and fulfilling its responsibility throughout the entire mobility life of consumers. The move aims to solve problems consumers face in used car transactions, like assessing vehicle conditions and market prices, and establish a convenient and transparent used car culture.
Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis certified pre-owned cars stand out for their top-quality in the domestic market, backed by the technology and know-how of an automobile manufacturer and a rigorous quality management process akin to that of new cars. The creation of an online platform, where consumers can easily purchase and sell used cars, is also a strength. Additionally, the integrated used car information portal enables consumers to access extensive information about used cars. Hyundai Motor Group plans to resolve information asymmetry in the used car market, enhancing transparency to create a used car culture satisfying both consumers and sellers.
As 2024 approaches, Hyundai Motor Group is set to continue introducing refined new cars and future technologies, enriching our daily lives and mobility experiences. The group’s vision to create a future filled with human-centered mobility solutions, ensuring that everyone equally enjoys the benefits of mobility technology, is eagerly anticipated in its next iteration.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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