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Automobiles

Hyundai to invest $50bn to gain edge in next-gen tech

South Korean automaker bolsters spending as industry landscape shifts

The all-electric Hyundai 45 concept car at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show: The automaker seeks to gain ground on rivals in next-generation vehicles.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor plans to invest 61 trillion won ($51.2 billion) over the next six years, as the South Korean automaker races to overtake rivals in the field of connected, autonomous, shared and electric cars expected to dominate the industry's future.

About 20 trillion won of this budget will go toward these next-generation autos. Hyundai also set a goal of selling 560,000 electric cars and 110,000 fuel-cell vehicles cumulatively by 2025 as part of these plans unveiled on Dec. 4 at an investor event in Seoul.

The company debuts an electric version of the Genesis luxury car in 2021 and plans further additions to its lineup.

Hyundai has sought to bolster its technological prowess since Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun took control of the group in 2018. The automaker had planned to expand its research and development budget for 2019 and beyond by 50% compared with the 2018 figure.

The new plan represents a further 10% increase from the original annual investments of roughly 8 trillion won to 9 trillion won.

But securing the additional money could prove a challenge. Hyundai produces a lower operating profit margin than does its rivals, totaling just 2.1% in 2018. The company said on Dec. 4 it will boost sales of highly profitable sport utility vehicles, looking to raise the margin to 7% in 2022 and 8% in 2025.

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