Hyundai announces multi-billion investment | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 06.01.2015
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Hyundai announces multi-billion investment

South Korea's biggest auto group has announced a multi-billion euro investment to make up for lost ground as it's reeling from its slowest sales growth in over a decade. The plan includes new factories and electric cars.

The world's fifth-largest carmaker, Hyundai, said Tuesday it planned to spend 80.7 trillion won (61.4 billion euros, $73.3 billion) over the next four years on new factories, research and development, as well as a lavish new headquarters.

"By investing such a record amount, we are planning to focus on securing core technologies in environmentally-friendly cars, smart cars and other next-generation cars," Hyundai said in a statement.

The South Korean group said it plans to build two new factories in China set to open in 2016 and 2017, as well as in Russia. Its affiliate Kia is also set to expand the capacity of its Chinese factory.

Hyundai is also gearing up to build its new headquarters on the 8.45-billion euro plot of land it bought last year. The HQ is said to include car-themed exhibition halls, hotels and shopping malls in Seoul's trendy Gangnam district.

At 37.3 billion euros, these investments will account for more than half of the planned spending.

Watch video 01:48

Going electric - fated to fail?

Another 24 billion euros will be allocated to research and development - about a third of which will go towards developing environmentally-friendly models, such as hybrids and electric cars. The firm will hire more than 7,000 new researchers and engineers to develop "smart cars," designed to navigate drivers safely through traffic.

Pedal to the metal

The automaker said the spending spree amounts to a 35 percent investment increase from 2014, and comes as the firm is eager to make up for lost ground overseas as Japanese rivals have profited from a weak yen in recent years.

Hyundai's announcement comes a week after the company forecast the slowest annual sales growth in more than a decade, and as the South Korean government is pushing businesses to invest and hire instead of hoarding cash reserves.

The group said they aim to 8.2 million vehicles in 2015 - a 2.5-percent increase from last year.

pad/hg (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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