Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Eui-son met CATL CEO Zeng Yuqun earlier this month to discuss using the Chinese battery maker’s products on its car models, TheElec has learned.
Zeng, who also goes by Robin Zeng, was accompanied by three president-level executives in his meeting with the chairman of the South Korean auto giant, sources said.
The parties made substantial discussions on the supply of electric vehicle batteries, they added.
The companies initially planned a ceremony to commemorate their partnership but this was canceled in light of the external environment such as the ongoing trade war between the US and China, they also said.
Zeng was returning the favor on Chung’s visit to China in 2018 when they last met.
Hyundai Motor had seen its automobile sales in China fall since 2017 when South Korea’s installation of US-given advanced missile systems strained relationships with China.
The auto giant at one time sold over a million units per year in the world’s second-largest economy but this has halved over the years since then.
During the second quarter of this year, Hyundai Motor sold less than 50,000 units in China.
In response, Hyundai has promoted its premium cars there and is also attempting to cut costs in components.
The auto giant for the first time used CATL’s batteries on its Kia Niro EV this year.
It is planning to double the number of batteries it procures from the Chinese company next year.
The sources said Zeng and Chung also likely discussed their potential collaboration in Europe.
CATL was drawing up its business plan for next year under the assumption that US and China relations will not improve.
This means Europe will be its prime focus for its expansion abroad and the region is a key EV market for Hyundai Motor as well.