Hyundai Motor is expanding their scope of business into South East Asian market including Singapore, which has been dubbed as “the playground of Japanese cars” by tapping into the firm’s eco-friendly varieties. The South Korean company is aimed at boosting market share by providing more eco-friendly vehicles through the supplies of greener cabs and the cooperation with car-sharing platforms with Singapore.
Hyundai Motor announced Monday that it signed a contract to supply a total of 2,000 Ioniq HEVs to ComfortDelGro, the largest transportation operator in Singapore, by the first half of 2020. A total 1,500 units will be supplied in advance this year, with the transfer of the rest 500 being completed in the first half of next year.
Since 2007, Hyundai Motor has sold various taxi models to ComfortDelGro including Sonata(NF), i40(VF), and i30(FD·GD). The first eco-friendly model it sold to the Singaporean firm was the Ioniq Hybrid, and a total 800 units were supplied last year. Including the latest deal, the cumulative amount of cabs Hyundai will be providing for the Singaporean taxi operator will exceed the mark of 26,000. Currently, Hyundai Motor’s market share in Singapore ranks first at 55 percent, taking up 11,000 among the 20,000 or so taxis operated in the country.
Hyundai is making an all-out effort to venture into Singapore, with Chung Eui-sun, the company’s executive vice chairman, meeting with the management of ComfortDelGro to discuss ways for continuous cooperation including the supply of electric vehicles. In fact, the Singaporean government is pushing for an expanded distribution of eco-friendly vehicles in the form of public transportation and sharing service. Singapore has mapped out a goal to replace 50 percent of personal vehicles, 60 percent of taxis, and 100 percent of public buses with electric vehicle (totaling at 532,000 units).
It appears that Hyundai Motor is certain of the growth potential of greener vehicles in South East Asia, having made an investment worth 275 million dollars in Grab last year, a car-hailing service provider operating in eight countries in the region including Singapore. In January, Grab started ride-hailing service with Hyundai’s electric vehicle Kona, with a plan to increase the number to 200 within this year. Hyundai is seeking to supply more EVs to South East Asia through Grab.
The region has traditionally been a stronghold of Japanese vehicles with the sole exception of Malaysia, which has its own car brands such as the Perodua or the Proton. The market share of Japanese automakers such as Toyota hovered over 65 percent as of last year in Indonesia and Thailand. The spread of EVs and the emergence of ride-hailing service are serving as an opportunity for Hyundai Motor Group to find a chink in the armor of the South East Asian market.
Hyundai Motor is also looking into ways to build manufacturing hubs in Vietnam and Indonesia to boost efficiency in increasing market share. An expansion plan for the CKD factory in Vietnam has already been confirmed, which will boost its capacity from the current 60,000 to 100,000 by the latter half of 2020. At the same time, the South Korean firm is also considering expanding the current capacity of its CKD factory in Indonesia or building new ones there.