MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- When Hyundai Motor Co. opens its U.S. assembly plant here in 2005, the Korean automaker will rely more than ever on key suppliers - outsourcing more assembly work and entrusting more components to fewer suppliers than it does in its home market.
Standing by Hyundai's side will be its chief supplier, Hyundai Mobis. Mobis is investing $30 million in its first U.S. operation to supply Hyundai, constructing a 400,000-square-foot plant near Hyundai's site. There, Mobis will employ 430 people producing complete cockpits, instrument clusters, and front and rear corner modules.
For Mobis, the Alabama project illustrates a new global strategy, with Hyundai at the core. While the automaker's strategy is to outsource more content, Mobis expects to grow by providing more manufacturing services.
Mobis CEO Park Jeong-In last year said that the company would aim for sales of $6.5 billion in 2005, up from $2.5 billion in 2002. Much of that increase, he said, will come from sales outside of Korea and from sales of new module systems that the company is hoping to market.
The company expects to more than double to 800 the number of technical employees who are assigned to module development. It also has entered into research and development arrangements with Siemens VDO Automotive and Robert Bosch GmbH. That lays the groundwork for an onslaught of new products.
Mobis has targeted several high-value-added businesses, including electronic seat systems, smart airbags, advanced electronics systems, intelligent brake systems, telematics and satellite radio receivers.
Its interests already were vast. The Alabama project is only scratching the surface of what Mobis supplies Hyundai and its sister company, Kia Motors Co., in Korea. Mobis produces steering systems, oil pumps, turbochargers, airbags, starter motors, shock absorbers, antilock brakes, wheels, filters, universal joints, headlights and electric motors.