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Don’t sleep on Hyundai in the great EV race

While Tesla lays off more than 10% of its workforce, South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group plans to hire 80,000 new employees, increasing its headcount by about 30% over the next three years.

The hiring sure is part of a 68 trillion won (US$50 billion) investment program aimed at establishing a leading position in electric and software-defined vehicles.

Like smartphones, the functions of software-defined EVs can be continually updated via wireless connection with cloud computing data centers. Eventually, Hyundai plans to apply this technology to all of its vehicles.

Investment funds will also be spent on autonomous driving, battery and other mobility-related R&D, EV production capacity and a new headquarters building in Seoul. On an annual basis, the investment is about 30% more than the Hyundai Motor Group spent last year.

Hyundai and its affiliate Kia constitute the world’s third-largest auto manufacturing alliance after the Toyota and Volkswagen groups. Other Hyundai Motor Group companies include auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis, logistics company Hyundai Glovis and Hyundai Steel. Hyundai Motor owns about 34% of Kia.

In 2023, Hyundai-Kia sold 7.1 million passenger cars – about two-thirds as many as Toyota, 15% more than General Motors, 2.7 times more than BYD and 4.2 times more than Tesla.

Last year, Hyundai-Kia overtook Ford and GM to become the second-largest EV vendor in the US. It is also gearing up to make EVs – starting with hybrids – and batteries in the US.

In China, Hyundai and Kia have agreed to extend their 10-year collaboration with Baidu to create a new connected, self-driving and software-defined vehicle network consistent with government regulations. Baidu is also working with Tesla while Toyota works with