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Hyundai Motors
Globalization strategy
1967-2013

06/06/2013 Research project: Hyundai globalisation strategy

Executive summary
The following report maps out Hyundai Motor Corporation’s (HMC) internationalisation strategy from its creation in 1967 to the current period. This strategy can be chronologically divided into four phases according to HMC’s objectives and rationale for expansion at different stages of its existence. From the research carried out, it appears that HMC’s choices of specific internationalisation patterns at different stages essentially stemmed from: The dynamics of the relationship between HMC, the Hyundai business group and the South Korean economic and political environment; Political, social and nationalistic incentives deriving from the specificities of Chaebol management and later the influence of the Asian crisis on this management and decision taking processes; Korea’s initial factor dotation, i.e. the prevalence of certain factors over others which pushed the company to seek knowledge and resources abroad at a very early stage; The replication of Japanese strategies (Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota).

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Due to the complexity of HMC’s environment, strategy over time cannot be illustrated using a single internationalisation framework. The report therefore discusses two different frameworks – namely Porter’s diamond and Dunning’s eclectic paradigm – to analyse the company’s strategy at different stages of its international development.

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Introduction
Hyundai Motor Corporation (HMC) is a South Korean multi-national automaker which is part of the Hyundai Motor Group founded in 1967 by Chung Ju-Yung. HMC sells its vehicles in 193 countries through a network of over 6000 dealerships and showrooms. HMC operates the world’s largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility with a capacity of 1.6m units annually in Ulsan, South Korea. HMC was also ranked as the world’s fourth largest automobile manufacturer based on annual vehicle sales in 2010. Hyundai has set up 6 Research & Development centers in Korea, Germany, Japan and India. Like other actors of Korea’s automobile industry, HMC has followed distinct stages of internationalization. However, HMC’s strategy cannot simply be explained by the ‘stage theory’ introduced by Johanson and Vahlne in 1977 due to the fact that it fails to satisfy two of its basic assumptions. First, the key force driving HMC from one stage to another was not the experience accumulated. Second, HMC does not proceed according to physical distance (Lansbury et al. 2007). Instead, HMC started to be involved in international operations before developing a significant competitive advantage, and gradually strengthened its firm-specific advantages through learning and experience in international markets, as we will demonstrate through the early exports stage and the entry into the US market. In addition, HMC’s subsidiaries were established in various parts of the world simultaneously (Lansbury et al. 2007). Another factor which makes HMC’s case unusual is that HMC was born and nurtured in a dynamic environment influenced by Korea’s economic transition. Between 1967 and 1985, HMC benefitted from the Korean government’s support and operated like a traditional Korean Chaebol. From 1985 onwards, HMC gained independance from the state and gradually followed the footsteps of its western counterparts. Thus, it is necessary to apply various theories jointly in analysing HMC’s internationalization process and strategies in different phases. In this report, HMC’s internationalization and global strategy is divided into four phases. During phase one and two, internationalization is driven by country-specific factors. Thus, Porter’s diamond theory is relevant to explain the influence Korea’s nation-specific advantages had on HMC’s international strategy. Later on, as firm-specific advantages are finally developed (especially after the Asian financial crisis) HMC starts to resemble its rivals from developed countries. Therefore, traditional theories like Dunning’s eclectic paradigm (OLI) become relevant in phase four to explain HMC’s internationalization.

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06/06/2013 Research project: Hyundai globalisation strategy

Table of contents

Executive summary ............................................................................................................................ 2 Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 3 Table of contents ................................................................................................................................ 4 Phase 1: Imports substitution and 'inwards internationalisation' 1967-1975 .................................... 5 1.1. Government influence on the creation of HMC ................................................................. 5

1.2. Hyundai’s involvement in automobiles seen through the lens of Porter’s diamond framework ...................................................................................................................................... 5 1.3. Learning from international partners ................................................................................. 6

Phase 2: Korea’s first car and the early exports 1976-1985 ............................................................... 7 2.1. 2.2. Building the first ‘Korean’ car with international support .................................................. 7 The urge to export and the example of Toyota .................................................................. 7

Phase 3: Mass production and internationalisation 1986-1997 ......................................................... 9 3.1. 3.2. 3.3. Mass production and exports ............................................................................................. 9 Strategy and rationale behind the entry into the US market .............................................. 9 Internationalisation of the production ............................................................................. 11

Phase 4: Post the Asian crisis, the global company 1998-2013 ........................................................ 11 4.1. Change in ownership, management, and international strategy ...................................... 11

4.2. Choice of international locations: the OLI framework applied to Hyundai’s modern globalisation strategy ................................................................................................................... 12 4.3. International operations and entry modes in the recent period: the example of China .. 13

Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................ 14 Appendix .......................................................................................................................................... 15 References........................................................................................................................................ 21

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06/06/2013 Research project: Hyundai globalisation strategy

Phase 1: Imports substitution and 'inwards internationalisation' 1967-1975

Since the early days of its creation Hyundai Motors Corporation has shown an inclination towards the United States and Japan. The company has developed its resources and knowledge through several partnerships. Hyundai’s first phase of ‘inwards internationalization’ is best explained by using Porter’s diamond framework and understanding the company’s early history.

1.1. Government influence on the creation of HMC In the late 1960’s Hyundai was a construction group led by Chairman Chung Ju Yung who set himself the objective of transforming his company into a leading Chaebol by investing in industries which would improve living standards in Korea (Landsbury et al. 2007). At that time, Korea’s manufacturing infrastructure was underdeveloped (Kim 2004). However, under President Park Chung Hee, the state started promoting industrial activities and import substitution for consumption goods as a driver for economic growth. Cars were specifically a matter of nationalistic pride and the symbol of an industrialized nation (Steers 1999). Hyundai seized the opportunity to enter the automotive industry in 1967, taking advantage of heavy government subsidies.

1.2. Hyundai’s involvement in automobiles seen through the lens of Porter’s diamond framework The state of Korea’s automobile industry and HMC’s first strategy of inwards internationalization are best explained using Porter’s diamond framework, illustrated in Figure 1. It is clear from the diamond that certain aspects of Korea’s domestic environment presented significant opportunities for a new car manufacturer. The presence of a large, cheap and disciplined work force, a low cost (‘factor dotation’) and capital-expenditure-intensive business environment (supported by the government and business group’s financial support) with little aversion to risk (‘firm profile’) and a very particular approach to decision taking (‘strong and charismatic leadership’).

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However the major challenge for HMC was a lack of support industries, especially technology intensive ones producing sophisticated components and specifically engines. In other words, the ‘shallowness’ of industrial clusters especially in the automobile sector forced HMC to internationalize.

Figure 1: Diamond framework adapted to Korea in the 1960s/70s, based on Porter (1990)

1.3. Learning from international partners The analysis above highlights the necessity of ‘inwards internationalisation’ for HMC. The company had to acquire from international players technology, engineering capabilities and components it could not find at home. The first step taken in this direction was to assemble cars for Ford UK in Ulsan, Korea in 1968. However, after a few years Ford required Hyundai to concentrate solely on engines production in what was to be Ford’s new international supply chain (Seyung 1982). This did not fit in with the strategy of HMC which ultimately wanted to develop the capability of manufacturing an all-Korean car. Thus, the partnership ended in 1973.

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06/06/2013 Research project: Hyundai globalisation strategy

The second approach taken was sending employees to Australia, Japan and the United States in the early 1970’s to learn all the aspects of the automobile business. Hyundai also needed a new partner and approached GM, Volkswagen and Alpha Romeo however all three required managing control of Hyundai’s operations, which was not acceptable to Hyundai’s chairman (Steers 1999). Finally, Hyundai was able to strike a technical agreement with the Japanese company Mitsubishi which was then confronted with fierce competition from Toyota and Nissan and was looking for ways to increase the size of its international operations. Mitsubishi signed a technical licensing agreement with Hyundai which allowed the Korean company to build ‘its own nameplate cars using technical designs from Japan’ (Seyung 1982) and also sell some of those cars to the Japanese market through Mitsubishi dealers, which greatly improved HMC’s technical capabilities.

Phase 2: Korea’s first car and the early exports 1976-1985

The transfer of technology and engineering capabilities resulting from the partnerships discussed above influenced the second phase of HMC’s international development. 2.1. Building the first ‘Korean’ car with international support In 1974 legislation required Korean auto manufacturers to build ‘citizen cars’. HMC still lacked specific capabilities and turned to Europe to contract Italian designer ItalDesign (working for Alpha Romeo and Fiat) and a British automobile executive to become HMC’s vice president. More Europeans were hired consequently at top engineering or design positions, de facto internationalising the company from inside which was rare in the Korean context. Thanks to its new European resources, HMC was the first Korean company ever to get a loan from European banks and used Mitsubishi’s technology to build Korea’s first national car: the Pony.

2.2. The urge to export and the example of Toyota HMC’s first decision to export came from Chairman Chung Juyung, under political pressure by the Korean government. The decision was controversial across HMC’s top management. The Pony was still acknowledged to be of ‘dubious quality’ and its success in Korea stemmed from prohibitive tariffs 7

06/06/2013 Research project: Hyundai globalisation strategy

imposed on foreign car manufacturers willing to enter the Korean market. HMC’s British vice president believed Hyundai was not ready to take on competition from international players (Clifford 1994). However, the diamond framework discussed earlier helps understand why Hyundai started exporting early on in its history. The general business context was highly favourable to exports and, combined with relatively low domestic demand, the strength of Hyundai’s international networks on which HMC could draw, the low risk aversion of Chaebols and strong financial backing from the government created an incentive to move quickly into exporting regardless of the risks associated. Chung’s initial target markets included Africa (Nigeria), Taiwan, South America (Peru, Ecuador) and Saudi Arabia. In a close replication of Toyota’s strategy two decades before (see Figure 2), Chung’s objective was to test Pony’s endurance and performance in as many ‘markets, climates and road conditions’ as possible where it would not suffer from strong competition posed by European, American and Japanese companies. Hyundai also aspired to gain export knowledge through this exercise. The results were positive in terms of learning: the company had to make many adjustments and the quality of the cars significantly improved. However HMC was still financially supported to a large extent by the rest of the Chaebol (Clifford 1994). 1955-1964
First exports through distributorship agreements: Dubai 1955 Middle East 1957 Africa 1957-1962

1965-1974
Japan economic boom& exports orientation. Mass production, US as the major export target (lower segment)

1975-1984

1985-1994

Toyota





Hyundai





Phase 2: First exports through distributorship agreements: Latin America Middle East Africa

Phase 3: Korea economic boom & exports orientation. Mass production, US as the major export target (lower segment)

Figure 2: Comparison of early internationalisation strategies of Toyota and Hyundai (first two decades, Toyota data from Toyota Motor Corporation 1988)

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Phase 3: Mass production and internationalisation 1986-1997

Capitalizing on the experience acquired during phase two and still replicating a strategy adopted by Toyota two decades earlier, Hyundai decided to scale up its international activities starting from the mid-1980s.

3.1. Mass production and exports In the early 1980s – at a time when Korean domestic sales barely reached 250,000 cars a year –US based General Motors (GM) announced its decision to build a new American factory that would assemble 300,000 cars a year. Hyundai analysed GM’s plans and also decided to build a 300,000 carsa-year factory at a much lower price, which would enable the company to manufacture a new compact model entirely dedicated to ‘real’ exports, targeting the lower end of western markets (Steers 1999). In 1985 ‘Pony II’ was successfully exported to South America, Canada and Africa and Hyundai took a lead on its domestic rivals (Kia and Daewoo). At the same time Korean exports in general were significantly increasing in value and per GDP (see Exhibit A1) and Korean companies were gaining recognition worldwide. The Hyundai group itself was becoming a major MNC. Following Toyota’s example (see Figure 2), HMC decided to target the industry benchmark as well as the largest market of all: the United States. It was a question of status for Hyundai and Korea itself, proving the company had become an international player able to compete against the Western auto makers and that the country was now an emerging economy.

3.2. Strategy and rationale behind the entry into the US market The move into the US market was similar to that of Toyota and other Japanese companies two decades before Hyundai: the first target was the lowest, most price-sensitive segment of the market with ambitions to move upstream in the long term. The Japanese car companies were competing on the compact segment while giants like GM and Ford were catering to the middle and higher end of the market. HMC decided to introduce a subcompact 9

06/06/2013 Research project: Hyundai globalisation strategy

car, the Hyundai Excel, priced around $5,000 while Japanese compacts were priced over $6,000 (Clifford 1994). HMA (Hyundai Motors America) was established in 1985 in California with staff from different Hyundai branches and new Americans recruits. Excel was initially a huge success.

Excel sales in the US (unit) Excel sales expectations

1986 168,000 100,000

1987 264,000 200,000

1988 263,000 300,000

1989 188,000 400,000

Figure 3: Excel’s introduction to the US market: sales and forecast (HMC 1990) In 1988, to support the US venture HMC purchased a manufacturing site in Bromont (Quebec) to assemble cars for the American market with higher quality standards than in Ulsan. Bromont was Hyundai’s largest manufacturing facility behind Ulsan with an initial capacity of 100,000 cars a year. However, in the late 1980’s, the company started relying more heavily on Korean subcontractors instead of European and Japanese ones. Those turned out to be less experienced, which affected Hyundai’s image. Furthermore, HMA’s strategy continued to be devised solely in Seoul, a situation which became unacceptable to American managers and along with rising cross-cultural issues, led to a decline in HMA’s sales (see Figure 3). Following the ‘move then learn and adjust’ approach and learning from the difficulties faced in the US market, the company decided to focus on higher quality and stronger R&D and accelerate its move upstream. In 1991 the company created its first engine, solely developed by HMC, as well as its first electric car.
50 40 30 20 10 0

R&D, US$ million

1975

1978

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

Figure 4: Impact of the US experience on R&D expenses during phase 3 of HMC’s internationalisation 10

06/06/2013 Research project: Hyundai globalisation strategy

3.3. Internationalisation of the production On the production side the situation got more difficult for HMC at the end of the 1980s. As Korea was transitioning from a developing country to a developed one, wages were increasing and Korean firms struggled to compete on the low cost segment they were previously dominating (Chang 2003). They were confronted with the same situation as their Japanese counterparts were a decade ago when the Japanese Yen appreciated resulting in a wages increases. Confronted with higher production costs and new trade conditions (NAFTA, EU), Hyundai and other Korean automobile companies had to make three adjustments to their strategy (Lansbury et al. 2007): Assemble in North-America (Bromont) and the EU (Czech Republic); Move up in terms of market segment and quality to tackle competition from new emerging economies with lower labour costs (China, Indonesia); Set up labour intensive activities offshore in South-East Asia.

In 1995 HMC therefore started internationalising its manufacturing in South East Asia, specifically Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines as well as Egypt. In 1997, a plant was opened in Chennai, India, with a capacity of 200,000 vehicles per year (Economic Times 2009).

Phase 4: Post the Asian crisis, the global company 1998-2013

In 1997-1998, Korea faced a serious economic crisis which resulted in IMF intervention, largely affecting Hyundai and other business groups. An illustration of the impact of these changes on the firms’ environment is presented in Appendix A3 as a ‘revisited’ version of Porter’s diamond. 4.1. Change in ownership, management, and international strategy Between 1997 and 1999 Korea’s corporate sector was restructured (as part of the ‘Big Deal’). Business groups were encouraged to concentrate on their core businesses and striped off from different subsidiaries which were grouped on the basis of the industry they belonged to. The aim was 11

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to reduce industrial overcapacities resulting from previous government subsidies. Hyundai was divided into smaller and ‘independent’ units that were more attractive to foreign investors, as the Korean state was no longer in a position to support the Chaebols financially. This situation had a tremendous influence on HMC’s internationalisation strategy which started to resemble closely to that of western automobile companies with similar investors. Korean businesses in general started favouring efficiency and profitability over growth and were more cautious when making investments overseas (Lansbury et al. 2007). In 1998 Hyundai took over a highly leveraged Kia Motors and started to recover from the crisis. It re-started its strategy of global production and opened new plants in China (1999), Indonesia (2000), Brazil (2000) and the US (2002). Instead of high capital expenditure HMC emphasized marketing and branding. A 2012 the famous global advertisement ‘Live Brilliant’ proved HMC’s alignment with Western standards and its move upstream (HyundaiWorldWide2012).

4.2. Choice of international locations: the OLI framework applied to Hyundai’s modern globalisation strategy One of the characteristics of the modern auto industry is a change of orientation from traditional and now saturated markets to emerging markets where the biggest potential lies today and where manufacturers can expect to lower their production costs. Global manufacturing in the auto industry is also a trending phenomenon. Modern geographical expansion depends on markets and production processes (globalized production of components and parts). The increasing ability to carry on R&D activities in emerging countries and the question of labour cost influence the international locations of manufacturing facilities. Hyundai’s modern strategy and the particular choice of countries in which it operates are analysed through the OLI framework presented in Appendix A5.

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4.3. International operations and entry modes in the recent period: the example of China In the late 1990s strategic alliances became the biggest trend in the industry. Korean companies chose to partner with western MNCs for technology purposes and entered into joint venture agreements with companies in emerging countries for local assembly, marketing and sales. While Hyundai under-bodies are today widely standardised, upper-bodies are designed to suit regional needs: today’s car markets are strongly regional. Tariffs and shipping costs push to localize assembling activities close to the final market. This is often done through a wholly owned subsidiary or a joint-venture with a local player. In May 2002, HMC initiated a joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. (BAIC). The Chinese government approved the joint venture ‘Beijing Hyundai’ in October 2002 (HMC 2013a). In fact, BAIC’s slow management delayed the approval, which was far different from Korea’s ‘chopchop’ nature, and it eventually caused some delays in the market entry (Barnet, Rhee and Kim 2008). In order to maintain acceptable quality standards, Beijing Hyundai supported local suppliers with technical and managerial training, and it ultimately helped Beijing Hyundai to build a strong local supplier network (Barnett et al. 2008). Beijing Hyundai also invested in distribution channels focusing on specific cities and regions (Barnett et al. 2008). In 2003, Beijing Hyundai launched the first product, ‘EF Sonata’ and sold of 50,000 units in first year which took three years for Honda (HMC 2013). In wake of the 2007 crisis, Beijing Hyundai launched a second plant in China, ‘Sichuan Hyundai’ which completed HMC’s global production network, across Korea, U.S., China, India and Europe, (Barnett et al. 2008). Beijing Hyundai experienced a rebound in 2008, and its market share has been growing since (see Exhibit A4).

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Conclusion

HMC’s strategy has been influenced by various factors during the different periods considered (as illustrated in Appendix A6) and thus, different frameworks can be used to explain the stages of its internationalisation. The following table sums up the entry modes and rationale for HMC till today.

Creation Korean political support Business group support Korean economic environment as developing country Korean economic environment as ‘developed’ country Japanese example (especially Toyota) Need for external labour Need for other external resources and knowledge Need for new markets Risk diversification

1967-1975

1976-1985

1986-1997

1998-2013

X X X

X X X

X X X

X (X) (X) (X) X

Rationale for internationalisation strategy

X

X X X X X X
Global supply chain and markets

X

X

X

X X

HMC international strategy

-

Imports substitution ‘inwards internationalisation’

Exports and domestic manufacturing

Exports and international manufacturing

Target countries

Korea

Nigeria, Taiwan, Peru, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia…

South America, Canada, Africa, Benelux, US, India…

Global

Figure 5: List of major factors influencing HMC’s internationalisation strategy from 1967 to 2013

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Appendices

A1. Economic Growth, Exports and Exports/GDP in Korea A2. Top Ten Automakers’ Ranks in China Market and Their Sales Performance A3. Porter’s Diamond revisited: the rebirth of the Korean automobile industry post the Asian crisis A4. Market Share Trend of Beijing Hyundai A5. OLI framework applied to HMC in phase 4 A6. Hyundai’s internationalization strategies projected on a world map

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A1. Economic Growth, Exports and Exports/GDP in Korea

Source: Mah (2007)

A2. Top Ten Automakers’ Ranks in China Market and Their Sales Performance

Source: Barnet, Rhee and Kim (2008)

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A3. Porter’s Diamond revisited: the rebirth of the Korean automobile industry post the Asian crisis

A4. Market Share Trend of Beijing Hyundai

Source: HMC (2013b)

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A5. OLI framework applied to HMC in phase 4

Presence of:

Internalization advantages Manufacturing factors

Location advantage (factor dotation) Market factors Sales subsidiaries Technology and talent R&D centres

Entry mode Europe/ Middle East/ Africa

Exports

Local production and assembling subsidiaries Russia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan

America Asia-Pacific

170 countries, no particular factor dotation

Russia, Norway, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland Canada, US Korea, Japan, China, Australia

Germany

Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, US Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia

Canada, US Korea, Japan, China, India

OLI framework applied to Hyundai’s current international operations to analyse the choice between exports and local subsidiaries (data from company’s 2011 Annual Report)

A6. Hyundai’s internationalization strategies projected on a world map

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Source: report and company data

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References
Barnett, W., Rhee, M. and Kim, J.G. 2008 ‘Hyundai Motor Company in China’, Stanford Graduate School of Business, viewed 31 May 2013, Clifford, M. 1994, Troubled Tiger: Businessmen, Bureaucrats, and Generals in South Korea, M.E. Sharpe, New York Economic Times 2009, ‘10 years of Hyundai in India’, 11 March, viewed 1 June 2013, HMC 2013a Company Information, viewed 31 May 2013, Hyundai Motors Corporation 2012, Annual Report 2011, viewed 15 May 2013, HMC 2013b Investor Presentation February 2013, viewed 31 May 2013, Johanson, J. and, Vahlne J. 1977 ‘The Uppsala Model Revisited’, Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 23-32 Kim, H.A. 2004 Korea’s Development under Park Chung Hee: Rapid Industrialization, 1961-79, London and NY: RoutledgeCurzon, pp.1-280. Lansbury, D. Suh C. and Kwon S. 2007, The global Korean motor industry : the Hyundai Motor Company's global strategy, Routledge, London Mah, J.S. 2006 ‘Export Promotion and Economic Development: The Case of Korea’, Journal of World Trade, 40(1), pp. 153-166. Mah, J.S. 2007 ‘Industrial Policy and Economic Development: Korea’s Experience’, Journal of Economic Issues, 41(1), pp. 77-92. Porter, M. 1947, The competitive advantage of nations, Macmillan, London Seyung C. 1982, Interview in the Asian Wall Street Journal, 23 April 1982 Steers, M. 1999, Made in Korea: Chung Ju Yung and the rise of Hyundai, Routledge, New York Toyota Motor Corporation 1988, Toyota: a history of the first 50 years, Toyota City: Toyota Motor Corporation, New York 21

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