Hyundai IONIQ EV series is ‘targeting more of the mainstream buyer’: Hyundai U.S. CEO

Hyundai U.S. President and CEO Randy Parker joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the car company's electric vehicles and what types of customers its geared towards.

Video transcript

RANDY PARKER: Well, first off, thanks for having me. Let me just say that I'm very, very excited to be here today for the launch and the premiere of our latest and greatest EV, the Ioniq 6. The car is simply fantastic. As you can see, it's got a very progressive and functional silhouette design. The car was actually built from the inside out rather than the outside in, like most car designs. And it really prioritizes interior user experience and maximize the space. We absolutely love the car. We can't wait to get it into the market.

- So we've been waiting to see more non-SUV EVs coming out these days. We've seen a lot of those crossovers, SUVs, things like that. I'm excited to see an actual car like the EV-- sorry, the Ioniq 6. Is it more kind of targeting luxury buyers or even performance-oriented buyers?

RANDY PARKER: No, I would say that this is targeting more of the mainstream buyer. This is our first passenger car EV, if you will. We just recently launched the Ioniq 5, which recently won Car and Driver SUV of the Year as well as MotorTrend SUV of the Year as well. So we've got a passenger car now. And we now have an SUV.

- So what's next for Hyundai in the US with regards to EVs and that platform, the E-GMP platform?

RANDY PARKER: Well, we've invested billions in electrification. Hyundai is a major player in the American EV market. We've garnered over 10% market share of all US EV sales sold this year. And last month, we broke ground on our $5.5 billion EV manufacturing footprint in Savannah, Georgia. So we're really, really excited about the future. And, obviously, we're very committed to EV rollout in the US.

- You guys have been building in the US for quite some time now. In Alabama originally. And now, like you mentioned, this new plant in Georgia. How important is it for you to actually build in this country even beyond the effects of the Inflation Reduction Act, which we just saw GM today talk about how much of a boost it is?

RANDY PARKER: Yeah. We're obviously super committed to the EV market here in the US. Obviously, with our $5.5 billion investment, we're going to help grow the infrastructure in the US in addition to creating jobs. This new manufacturing plant is going to create over 8,100 additional jobs in our local community. So we're very, very excited about that as well.

- So that factory probably going to come online in 2025 or so in Georgia, I believe. Have you guys felt any of the effects of the part shortages or chip shortages currently kind of ongoing right now?

RANDY PARKER: Yeah. It's definitely been a challenge for us this year. But from a Hyundai perspective, we've been able to grow our market share in the down market. The EV shortage has been a huge challenge for us and our dealers. But we continue to work hand in glove with our suppliers to ensure that we've got a steady pipeline of vehicles that we can supply to our retail dealers. And so far, we've had a lot of success this year.

- Do you think that your ICE business versus your EV business is going to kind of stayed the same mix wise? Or do you end up seeing the ICE business really kind of tailing off in the back half of this decade?

RANDY PARKER: Well, as I mentioned, our EV sales were up 10% last month on a year over year basis. Right now, we're selling roughly about 4% of our total sales in the EV space. And as time goes on, you'll see us grow more and more and more as we start to try and meet federal regulatory emission requirements.

- Randy, thanks so much. Back to you, Rochelle.

RANDY PARKER: Thank you.

- All right. Great stuff for us. I mean, that is a gorgeous looking car. I think my first instinct was how much it looks like a Porsche 911. I was like, that's-- I love the shape of it, especially the back there. I mean, how do you think this is going to be received, this Hyundai?

- I've heard some mixed reviews so far. I actually personally like it because I think it's so different compared to other offerings out there. It's like a mini-Mercedes EQS, in my opinion. So I it will be somewhat well received as a different type of car in that EV space.

- Pras, what did you make of the chip comments just in terms of the challenges because it's certainly something that's plaguing the sector, although it seems like Honda has been able to navigate this very uncertain time. The question, though, is just how long these challenges are going to plague these companies because, certainly, it has been holding back not only production, but clearly sales as well.

- Yeah. I mean, clearly, especially for domestic automakers. And it's like there's two different sides. There's the normal chips that you see in computers, things like that. The cars use these very simple chips that for some reason or another the industry has not been making as much. And they're really suffering as we come out of the COVID sort of slowdown. All these factories still need cars. GM still has cars that are sitting a lot that need to be retrofitted.

- And it'd be interesting to see just the impact of that Consumer Reports piece that was just printed just in terms of the reliability, or lack thereof, I should say, of the EV market and what that really does to adoption because I think we've all been waiting for broader mainstream adoption when it comes to EVs. People are still very hesitant. Clearly, the infrastructure that's needed isn't there. And that's a massive problem when we talk about the expected adoption that we want to see of EVs over the next several years.

- It's funny. Our good friend Jen Rogers wanted to get a Rivian. And I said, hey, why don't you hold off for a little bit? Let them iron out the kinks. And what happened? They had a massive recall of 14,000 trucks or whatever with that issue with the suspension. So you kind of see that happening. These companies are ramping up. They're new to the business. And it's a whole new powertrain setup. So I kind of expect that to happen.

- Would you get an EV car at this point?

- I think so. But I don't have a house. I would love to have a house and a charger. I would do that for sure.

- There we go. That's what we need. All right, Pras. Thanks so much. Great stuff. Great interview there.