The Incredible Hyundai

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Did we say that Toyota is casting a wary eye on Hyundai? The Koreans are on a roll. They are boosting their production capacity in China to 1 million units per year. And they do that right in front of my nose, in Beijing.

This weekend, Beijing Hyundai Motor, a joint venture between Hyundai and BAIC, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its third plant in Beijing.

The other two plants, also in Beijing, can each crank out 300,000 vehicles per year, and they are redlining. The third plant will bring urgent relief and Hyundai’s production capacity up to 1 million units per year. Originally, they wanted to build another 300,000 unit plant, but that was overtaken by events.

That capacity should be soon filled. Hyundai will build the Hyundai i30, ix35, Verna and the new Sonata YF at the new plant. The Hyundai Elantra, Tuscon, Sonata MoInca and Accent are built at the first plant, the second plant makes the Hyundai Elantra Yuedong and the Hyundai Lingxiang, Gasgoo says.

Hyundai’s architects will not sit idle. Hyundai plans to launch 12 models in the Chinese market between 2011 and 2015 period, bringing their Chinese portfolio to 20 cars. That calls for a fourth plant.

Hyundai-Kia is in the midst of a building frenzy:

  • Kia is expanding the annual capacity at its U.S. plant in Georgia to 150,000 cars before the end of this year. Expansion can go up to 300,000 units within several years.
  • Hyundai plans to open plants in Russia and Brazil.
  • Hyundai plans to raise output capacity at its plant in the Czech Republic.
  • Kia Motors will boost production in Slovakia.

The plan is to have capacity for 6.5 million units a year by 2012,

I’m sure Toyota is not the only one that looks a bit worried in the direction of Korea.

Join the conversation
  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Nov 25, 2010

    Here's hoping they're not turned into a charred, skeletal ruin by Kim Jong Il...

  • 87 Morgan 87 Morgan on Nov 25, 2010

    I believe that we have seen this play before. H/K is a forwarding thinking company bringing new product to market that is nothing like previous product they had on the shelf. It seems as though every new product is a complete redesign with significant upgrades from previous versions for roughly the same dough as the previous version. Toyota seems to be intent on using past success as the platform. The problem is you can only masseauge (sp) a body style so many ways before you have to punt and start over. Safe to say that GM taught/learned this lesson. I would bet H/K is the top manufacturer by the end of the next decade.

  • Jaje Jaje on Nov 26, 2010

    While Toyota and Honda made all these hybrids yet ignored their standard fare products, Hyundai focused on their core products improving all areas including design and fuel economy / power. Toyota and Honda became complacent just like Detroit did.