South Korea’s largest car company said Tuesday that it plans to invest 41 trillion won ($35 billion) into “future mobility technology” by 2025.
That massive pledge puts it on par with some of the industry’s top players. Volkswagen (VLKAF) is spending €30 billion ($34 billion) over the next five years to make an electric or hybrid version of every vehicle in its lineup.
Hyundai (HYMTF) said Tuesday it plans to release 23 kinds of electric vehicles by 2025. That would make up roughly half of its new lineup.
The automaker has a powerful partner in its efforts to transform its business. The announcement was backed by a pledge from South Korea’s government to spend 2.2 trillion won ($1.9 billion) on innovative auto technology.
“Our goal is to become the number one country for future car competitiveness by 2030,” President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday, speaking at a Hyundai research center.
South Korea will “be the first in the world to commercialize autonomous driving,” and a third of the cars on the country’s roads in the next decade should be electric or hydrogen-powered, he added.
The race to get fully autonomous cars on the roads is underway globally, and carmakers are under pressure to either get on board or risk getting left behind.
Japan’s SoftBank (SFTBF) has invested billions in partnerships with Toyota (TM) and GM (GM) to help develop driverless cars. Ford (F) and Baidu (BIDU) have teamed up to develop self-driving cars in China. And Volkswagen (VLKAF) started testing electric cars fitted with autonomous technology on a section of Hamburg’s streets.
But the effort is also expensive, eating into carmakers’ profits at a time when auto sales are dwindling globally.
— Sophie Jeong contributed reporting.

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