Chances are growing in the automotive industry that Hyundai Motor could eventually be backed by factories of Samsung Electronics for its car-oriented semiconductor business in about a year.
Officials of the two big companies have seemingly not ruled out the feasibility of their comprehensive partnership for what industry analysts call a lucrative car-semiconductor business.
Hyundai Motor executives appear to be more positive over the manufacturing alliance between the nation's auto and chipmaker giants, respectively.
"As the first step, over the coming year or so, we will prioritize development of 100-per cent unique technologies for the automobile semiconductor through our tech affiliate, Hyundai Autron," a company executive said.
"Apart from holding technologies, another key issue is to secure the capacity of mass production," he said. "It is undeniable that Samsung Electronics' large-scale assembly lines are attractive to us."
He predicted that Samsung Group may also be under internal discussion in forging a close alliance with the nation's largest carmaker, stressing the car semiconductor sector has emerged as a future growth engine at home and abroad.
According to Hyundai Motor spokespeople, the automaker had to bear the burden of extremely high costs as it has heavily depended upon imports of car semiconductors from global auto parts makers including Germany-based Continental AG.
"These days, production of a passenger car requires about 200 semiconductors with state-of-the-art technology," a spokesman said. "Those are estimated to account for more than 20 per cent of producer prices of a vehicle on average."
Data from the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade showed that Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors have been importing automobile semiconductors totaling around 1 trillion won ($1.1 billion) per annum.
A Samsung Electronics executive cited the current tie-up with Hyundai Motor in manufacturing car-oriented "sensors."
Concerning the possibility of widening the scope of their partnership to car semiconductor production, he said it is not easy to forecast the future business at the present stage.
"It (mass production of car semiconductors for Hyundai and Kia) may be possible. We, however, believe it is entirely up to top-ranking decision-makers (including Samsung Electronics chief operating officer Lee Jay-yong)," he said.