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Q&A: Hyundai Motor Group COO Jose Munoz is “Doubling Down” on EVs

by | March 26, 2024

After growing nearly 800% between 2019 and early 2023, the growth in EV sales has begun to slow in recent months. But despite some reports, U.S. demand is expected to still grow from 1.2 million to 1.5 million in 2024. While some automakers, such as Ford, Volkswagen and General Motors are pulling back on their commitments to electrify, at least one major executive, Hyundai’s Jose Munoz, says he is “doubling down” on EVs.

Genesis GV60 Magma

The all-electric GV60 Magma will become the first high-performance Genesis model.

During a media briefing a few days ahead of this year’s New York International Auto Show, Hyundai rolled out a pair of EVs, including the all-electric GV60 Magma and the Neolun concept. The Magma will be the first in what is expected to be a family of high-performance Genesis models, while the Neolun hints at an all-electric Genesis SUV flagship.

Headlight.News caught up with Jose Munoz to discuss the two new Genesis EVs, as well as the EV plans for the Hyundai Motor Group, as a whole. A former Nissan senior executive, Munoz is the president and global COO of Hyundai Motor Company and the president and CEO of Hyundai and Genesis Motor North America.

Headlight.News: You continue to put a heavy emphasis on EVs, even while other automakers are pulling back. Why?

Munoz: In case, if you look at our numbers, we doubled our sales of EVs last year and, this year, we continue to have very strong momentum. So, from our point of view, I think it’s good for us. We see the future is electrification. It’s just a matter of what will be the speed of adoption. But we are very confident and we’re doubling down.

Genesis Neolun Concept - front 3-4

The Genesis Neolun Concept may soon return in production form.

Headlight.News: You recently indicated the new (Hyundai Motor Group EV plant in Georgia) may also produce hybrids and gas models to keep it running at full speed. So, it appears you are adjusting plans as the market shifts.

Munoz:: You are right in the sense that we want to offer customers what they want. We continue to see big growth in electric vehicles. But if consumers want other types of technology we’ll bring them what they want; we’ll be flexible. We’re one of the few manufacturers offering EVs, hybrids, plug-ins, ICE (internal combustion engines) and even hydrogen.

More Hyundai Motor Group News

Headlight.News: Does it concern you that there’s been some serious misinformation about EVs, some incorrectly reporting that sales – rather than sales growth – have dropped?

Genesis X Snow Speedium Concept - side driving

The Genesis Snow Speedium X Concept.

Munoz: It all depends on what your expectations are, right? No matter how you put it, we are seeing the pace of (growth) is really faster than the total industry. That means EVs are helping the (overall) industry to grow. Is it growing at the pace we thought it would a year ago? No. But (EVs are) still growing a lot, and more for some OEMs than others. Hyundai is now second in EV sales in United States after Tesla. So, we continue to be very confident.

Headlight.News: Several factors seem to be impacting the rate of EV growth, including their high price. Where are you in terms of developing low cost vehicles that could come in at $30,000 or less?

Munoz: Well, tonight we’re looking at the Genesis brand. And Genesis is not low cost. We’re focusing on the best performance. But we are making progress, like everybody else on different aspects (of driving down costs).

Headlight.News: You showed off two new models tonight: the GV60 Magma high-performance EV, and the Neolun concept, a potential flagship. It seems like the Hyundai Motor Group is trying to fill in gaps in the EV line-up to reach more consumers.

Munoz: Yes, that’s right. The Neolun is an example of a large SUV bringing really very innovative design, features and technology.

Genesis GV60 Magma - rear 3-4

A factory shot shows the extensive aerodynamic modifications to the back end of the Genesis GV60 Magma.

Headlight.News: Do you expect to actually build that concept?

Munoz: Oh, very much so. I would say it is not decided yet, but I expect so.

Headlight.News: And how well do you expect the market to accept high-performance EVs, like the GV60 Magma and others you are planning?

Munoz: I think very much. I’m very adamant. You know one of the contenders for (World Performance) Car of the Year is the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, with more than 600 horsepower. It’s a bold proposition. I think performance of EVs is superior for many physical and technological reasons. And I think the consumer can see that.


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