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Hyundai Motor hires former US Ambassador to Korea Sung Kim as adviser

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Hyundai Motor and Kia headquarters in southern Seoul / Yonhap

Hyundai Motor and Kia headquarters in southern Seoul / Yonhap

By Lee Min-hyung
Sung Kim, former U.S. ambassador to Korea

Sung Kim, former U.S. ambassador to Korea

Hyundai Motor has appointed former U.S. Ambassador to Korea Sung Kim as its adviser, in a move aimed at elevating the carmaker's overseas networking activities and deepening business ties with global partners, the company said Friday.

Kim will start his advisory role next month at the nation's largest carmaker. He is expected to play a crucial role in helping the company expand its footing abroad during the current geopolitical and economic uncertainties.

"We expect the former ambassador to resolve our business conundrum amid heightened uncertainties triggered by a paradigm shift in global trading circumstances, geopolitical conflicts and supply chain reorganization here and abroad," an official from Hyundai Motor said.

His primary task includes the expansion of the carmaker's overseas presence, so the firm can clinch more strategic partnerships with global firms. Kim is best known as the nation's first American diplomat of Korean origin. He worked as the U.S. ambassador to Korea for three years from November 2011.

Kim will also give concrete advice to Hyundai Motor Group to enhance its global communication skills, so that the carmaker can win more orders from clients abroad and remain on good terms with its overseas partners, the company said.

One of the top priorities for Hyundai Motor Group this year was to expand its foothold abroad, particularly in Asia. Last month, the company opened its much-awaited Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore (HMGICS), identifying the facility as a key research and manufacturing hub in Asia.

Hyundai believes Kim's expertise in the Asian market will contribute to its planned expansion into other territories in the region. After ending his diplomatic role in Korea, he went on to stay in Asia as U.S. ambassador to the Philippines and then Indonesia.

The carmaker aims to take advantage of Kim's expertise in international relations, particularly in Southeast Asia. The company has generated solid sales growth in key Asian markets, such as Vietnam and Indonesia. According to data from the industry, Hyundai Motor sold more than 40,000 vehicles in Vietnam for the first 10 months combined this year, placing it as the second-most-popular carmaker after Toyota.

Indonesia is also a strategic market for Hyundai Motor. The firm's sales have been rapidly rising for the past few years there. Back in 2021, the company was ranked 13th in terms of car sales there, but rose to eighth two years later.

Kim's expertise in Asia will also help the company draw up more sustainable growth strategies. His previous career also saw him take on the role of acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs for six months from January 2021.

Lee Min-hyung


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