By Park Jae-hyuk
Hyundai Motor on Thursday unveiled its plan to focus more on selling electric vehicles (EVs) in the global market this year, after posting record annual sales and operating profit in 2022.
The carmaker also emphasized that it has braced for the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), in order to dismiss concerns that the new law may have a negative impact on its business there.
During a conference call on its fourth-quarter earnings, Hyundai Motor said its 2022 sales rose 21.2 percent year-on-year to 142.5 trillion won, while its annual operating profit last year reached 9.82 trillion won, up 47 percent from the previous year.
The company attributed its record-high earnings to increased sales of vehicles, solid sales of premium sedans and a stronger U.S. dollar against the Korean won.
|Hyundai Motor's IONIQ 6 electric vehicle / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor|
With the aims of selling 4.32 million vehicles this year in the global market and investing 10.5 trillion won in the car business, Hyundai Motor also said it will increase global sales of its EVs, such as the IONIQ 6, IONIQ 5 N and the Kona EV.
It added that the market for eco-friendly vehicles will continue to grow this year, due to tightening environmental regulations in major countries and customers' preference for cars that emit less pollution.
In response to concerns about possible fallout from the IRA, the company said it has already started making efforts to build a new factory in the U.S. state of Georgia earlier than initially planned.
Given that the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced late last year that EVs leased by consumers can qualify for up to $7,500 in commercial clean vehicle tax credits, Hyundai Motor plans to sell more EVs through lease contracts this year.
"Our company is considering various options regarding production of EVs in the U.S. and sourcing of batteries," a Hyundai Motor official said. "We will make an additional update on our countermeasures against the IRA, once the U.S. confirms specifics about the law in March."
However, Hyundai Motor is still concerned about uncertainties in the global market, caused by geopolitical tensions, lingering inflation, and rising interest rates. The company also mentioned volatile foreign exchange rates and the intensifying competition with global carmakers as difficulties in its global operations.