Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong has visited Hyundai Motor Group’s Namyang R&D Center for a meeting with Hyundai Motor executive vice chairman Chung Eui-son on Tuesday, the companies said.
It is the two bosses’ second meeting after their first meeting this year on May 13, when Chung visited Samsung SDI’s Cheonan factory.
Lee and fellow executives were briefed on Hyundai’s future products and technology in urban air mobility and robotics. The vice chairman also tried out the automobile giant’s hydrogen electric vehicles and self-driving cars.
Samsung Electronics became a tier-1 auto-component supplier with the acquisition of Harman in 2017. Prior to the acquisition of the US company, Samsung affiliates such as Samsung Display, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electro-Mechanics supplies components for car makers before but they were tier-2 and tier-3 suppliers.
Samsung and Hyundai have had a rather uncomfortable relation in the past. This is due to Samsung entering the automobile industry in the 1990s, which caused outrage from Hyundai. Samsung eventually failed due to the Asian Financial Crisis.
When Samsung acquired Harman, Hyundai didn’t use brands such as JBL and Mark Levinson and instead opted to use Bose and Krell for its car audio systems. Hyundai also currently uses batteries made by LG Chem and SK Innovation for electric vehicles. It doesn’t use Samsung SDI as a supplier.
The meetings between Lee and Chung is thought to be an effort from the two sides to put aside their past conflicts and form a new relationship between the conglomerates. “The problem between the two companies can only resolved by their leaders,” a person with direct knowledge of the meetings said.
Samsung will be able to supply its application processors and CMOS image sensors to Hyundai if the talks go well. Samsung Display has supplied its OLED panels to Audi in the past. Samsung SDI is a supplier of batteries to BMW and Volkswagen.