Hyundai Union Boss Concerned Electric Cars Will Cut Jobs

Blue Hyundai Kona Electric cold weather testing


Hyundai’s union boss isn’t taking the transition to electric cars lightly and he’s sharing his anxiety publicly.

Despite the fact that Hyundai is beginning to push hard with electric vehicles, the company’s South Korean union leader Ha Bu-young is very concerned. In a recent interview with Reuters, he explained that these future vehicles stand to eliminate jobs since they are more simple to manufacture than their ICE counterparts. He shared (via The Drive):

Electric cars are disasters. They are evil. We are very nervous.

Hyundai IONIQ Electric

It’s pretty clear that he’s not just concerned, but rather has a hate for EVs. According to Bu-Young’s estimates, Hyundai could face a 70 percent job loss, due to the emergence of electric vehicles.

Fortunately, however, he also added that over the next 15 years 30,000 to 50,000 current employees will be set to retire. This may work to absorb the job-loss issue.

Related: Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid Coming After 2019

The union leader explained that the organization is in the process of attempting to figure out how to assure that the transition isn’t devastating. A union group is working on getting specific numbers of future impact and creating a plan.

South Korea has a history of struggling automotive companies. According to The Drive, GM is set to shutter one of its factories there, due to lows sales and the high cost of labor. In fact, the Big Three automaker may eventually shut down four plants in the country.

Nonetheless, Hyundai (along with its sister company, Kia) continue to broaden their EV reach. Hyundai/Kia currently sell the IONIQ Electric and Kia Soul EV, among other plug-in hybrid variants of ICE cars. The battery-electric Kona is just one of a mix of electric vehicles the company is bringing to market over a short period of time.


Hyundai Kona Electric
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Source: The Drive

Categories: Hyundai

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16 Comments on "Hyundai Union Boss Concerned Electric Cars Will Cut Jobs"

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This is not good. Not at all.
You want employees to feel themselves part of ” special forces” of an challenging trandition and a better future. Not culprits of their own BK.
I can’t see how this is good for the transition to EVs.

At the same time; Why is Ford saying the EV market is not profitable yet, if they could save 70% costs of employees?
Is this Hyundai union dude well informed, or is it all”as a matter of speaking”?

Because battery/cells are expensive. Although these steps are highly automated (much more to come), material costs and capex are very important.

And less labor costs do not balance with high battery costs.

Here’s a quote from Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations from a Reuters story:
“Electric vehicles will mean auto factories can have a final assembly area that is half the size, requires half the capital investment and 30 percent fewer labor hours per car”.

However, right now the batteries are really quite expensive and is one of the major issues stopping EVs from being profitable right now. Long term as battery prices come down that changes.

It may be correct that EVs need less workers to produce engines and gearboxes but that’s offset by more workers in battery manufacturing and mining. The real threat for auto workers in the future is lower car sales due to autopilot cars which can be rented and reduce the need to actually own a car and reduce the number of cars on the streets.

The genie is out of the bottle , either you will be making electric cars or you wont be making cars at all. They could not make enough Hyundai Ioniqs where I live ( Ireland ) . A year waiting list . And the Hyundai Kona long range will be a blockbuster.
Hyundai are stealing the march in the EV, if played right I dont think there will be a shortage of work for the next decade at least

This is a well known fact. And don’t forget that Musk wants a completely robotic factory.

And there will be a job loss in service, too.

This industrial sector will be less important for the job market. So we need to focus on different sectors to provide new jobs.

In essence admitting that the ev has won and now it’s just a matter of time, since with fewer workers, a major cost of making a car, the ev will become cheaper to make, thus costing less, and the final nail in the coffin of the ice will be driven home.

People burned a shoe factory in England over this. Old news…move on. Korea has the same population dynamics as Japan (actually a lower birth rate). Their labor force is shrinking and this is well timed. Everyone wins.
Google: ‘Korea population pyramid’.

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Why is this bad? If all goes well population growth in industrialized countries will be absent and the absolute number of young, working people will go down. So if industries need less people, where is the problem?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“So if industries need less people, where is the problem?”

It’s the Union thang. Union fat cat’s need to keep a high headcount so they can get paid. Less people less pay to the Union.

Unions are a cancer that will kill their host.

“So if industries need less people, where is the problem?”

The problem is that as good, high-paying blue collar jobs disappear, replaced by robots, then those former workers are forced to take lower-paying service jobs, which are often not full time.

Or to put it another way: If nobody is paid to build cars, then who is gonna have enough money to buy them?

This is already happening. Haven’t you noticed? It’s one of the biggest reasons why in the U.S., the middle class is shrinking. Replacing human workers with robots is one of the many ways the very rich are keeping all the money for themselves, refusing to share the wealth, and it’s why in the U.S., the disparity between rich and poor has grown to a size not seen since the Gilded Age, the age of the industrial robber barons.

However, that era was also marked by the rise of labor unions, addressing the growing disparity — both economic and in political influence — between rich and poor. We can expect a similar grass-roots movement to start soon, if it hasn’t already started.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Robots evolved for a reason. A small investment up front saves long term.

Go take a look at other auto manufacturers. There’s no reason Joe Schmuck needs to get paid paid over $24/hr to move a gantry mounted torque wrench array and push a button and make sure all wrenches comes up green on a screen then go to the next wheel.

Too many times, the pay does not warrant the job.

A solution going forward is own the robots have the robots work for you. Unfortunately, many Americans will not own the robots and complain about being broke.

Hmmm, it suddenly occurs to me that worry over cars being made with fewer workers is probably the real reason that the UAW is now churning out an endless stream of union agitprop (propaganda) against Tesla. I’ve been puzzled about why they seem to have made it a permanent and significant part of their union’s activities, but now it makes sense.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Because Union fat cats won’t get their money.

Unfortunately this probably also means anytime you have to get your EV serviced it’s going to be VERY expensive. It won’t need service often, and likely will require special tools or specialist knowledge.