He succeeds his father, the company’s patriarch Mong-Koo Chung who gave up his seat on the board of the Hyundai Group – including Hyundai Motors and Kia Motors – earlier this year.
Mong-Koo Chung, aged 82, has been chairman and CEO since September 2000. He had stepped back from frontline duties in the past few years and Euisan had taken a more prominent role in the company since 2018.
The grandson of Hyundai’s founder, Euisan Chung was born in 1970 and is an only son. He has led Hyundai’s push into electric vehicles, mobility and hydrogen fuel cells.
In July, he announced that Hyundai and sister company Kia Motors aimed to sell one million electric vehicles in 2025, jointly targeting a more than 10 per cent share of the global market for EVs.
Euisan Chung is credited with turning around Kia with the hiring of respected automotive designer Peter Schreyer who overhauled the look of the products, and also launching the Genesis luxury brand in 2015.
The elder Chung, the son of the late Hyundai Group founder Ju-yung Chung, joined Hyundai Motor Company in 1970 as an auto parts manager at its Seoul office. He became the chairman of Hyundai Motor Group in September 2000.
He is the first Korean to be admitted into the Automotive Hall of Fame and is lauded for building an automobile empire in a country that was late to the industry. When Hyundai Motor Company was founded in 1967, it only had a repair shop for cars imported from countries like the US and Japan.
By late 2000, it had grown to have 10 affiliates with assets worth 34 trillion won ($A41.6 billion) and by late 2019, had 54 affiliates with assets of more than 234 trillion won ($A286.5b), had manufacturing plants in 10 countries and produces more than 7.5 million vehicles a year to become the world’s fifth biggest car-maker.
Affiliates include Hyundai-branded businesses in steel manufacture, engineering, construction, auto parts and finance.
The success of its cars in the US – and later other markets – was enhanced by a long warranty. In the US, a 10-year, 100,000-mile (160,000km) warranty program was introduced in 1998 at a time when rival car-makers offered a three-year cover and immediately produced higher sales.
By Neil Dowling