August 29, 2019 13:16
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday attended the ground-breaking ceremony in Ulsan of Hyundai Mobis' first plant making only parts for electric vehicles.
Korea's biggest auto parts maker, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor, is investing W300 billion to build the plant, which will be able to supply key parts for 100,000 EVs a year once completed in 2021.
Two million EVs were sold around the world last year, and the market is expected to grow to 28 million by 2025.
Cheong Wa Dae said Hyundai Mobis is the first big company to return its manufacturing base to Korea after relocating overseas. It has closed two factories in China and reduced production by over 25 percent, deciding to build a new plant in Korea instead.
"In a precarious time where free and transparent trade is being challenged and trade retaliation is being taken for political reasons, we have to defend our own economy," Moon said. "In this difficult time, seeing Korean companies move plants back to Korea gives our economy hope."
This slightly glamorizes the move because Hyundai Mobis was as good as driven out of the Chinese market after faring poorly there, especially amid the 2017 boycott.
The company has previously produced parts for environmentally friendly cars such as hybrid, electric and hydrogen cars in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, but the Ulsan plant will make EV parts only, like battery packs and components for the automaker's new EV platform dubbed Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) to be introduced next year.
Hyundai makes EVs in Korea, China and India and plans to produce them in the Czech Republic. It also plans to build a new plant in Indonesia to manufacture 250,000 EVs per year within this year.
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