Hyundai reportedly shut down its combustion engine development center

Update: Added additional information as reported by Korea Economic Daily.

The electric push is underway as manufacturers race to position themselves for an EV future. Many companies have verbally pledged to go all-electric, but Hyundai could take a bold step by ending development of future internal combustion engines now.

It’s the word in an article by Business Korea which fell just before Christmas. The website claims that Hyundai Motor Group has officially abolished its engine development department at the company’s Namyang Research Institute south of Seoul. The article also says that the automaker’s powertrain has been reorganized into an electrification development team and a battery development group has been created.

The Korean Business Daily also reports the shutdown, citing unnamed industry sources and an alleged email from Hyundai’s new head of R&D, Chung-Kook Park, to employees stating, “Our own engine development is a great achievement, but we need to change the system to create future innovation based on the great asset of the past.”

There has been no official announcement from Hyundai regarding these allegations. We have contacted Hyundai representatives to confirm the information and offer clarification if it is true. We will certainly update this article if new information becomes available.

The rumor coincides with a major shake-up in top management and a reshuffle at Hyundai. Albert Biermann recently announced his retirement as head of corporate R&D, and head of design Peter Schreyer is also moving into a new role. The automaker also announced more than 200 different executive promotions, more than a third of them in the R&D division.

“Many of the new appointments represent the next generation of leaders and have been recognized for their achievements and their role in the continued success of the group,” a company spokesperson said in a statement regarding the staff announcement.

Kevin A. Perras