[THE INVESTOR] South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Group on Jan. 17 said it will invest US$3.1 billion in the US over the next five-year period, joining global auto giants that have announced large investment plans in view of incoming President Donald Trump’s protectionism policy.
The automaker is also considering building a new US factory, which may produce sport utility vehicles or luxury Genesis vehicles in the country.
Chung Jin-haeng, president of the world’s fifth-largest automotive group that includes Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, told foreign media that the group will spend US$3.1 billion through 2021, mostly on research and development on future car technologies, including autonomous cars and eco-friendly vehicles, as well as improving their factories in Alabama and Georgia.
The planned US investment has been hiked significantly from the US$2.1 billion the auto giant spent in the 2012-2016 period.
The automaker, however, denied claims that the investment decision was made to appease Trump, who will take office on Jan. 20.
“We will make a decision on the new plant after carefully evaluating the auto industry trends in the US,” a Hyundai Motor official said. “This investment is part of our regular business activities.”
Earlier, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota announced plans to make multibillion dollar investments to expand assembly plants in the US, following Trump’s repeated threats to impose hefty tariffs on cars imported from overseas plants, especially from Mexico.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)