Michael O’Brien, the vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital planning for Hyundai Motor America, was named a 2019 Automotive News All-Star in the product development category. This esteemed award is an annual selection of outstanding individuals who are leaders in the highly competitive automotive industry.
O’Brien is responsible for guiding the strategic development of Hyundai’s entire model lineup, identifying opportunities to extend into new segments, tailoring Hyundai vehicles for the U.S. market and determining the target audience and positioning for each model. He also leads Hyundai’s corporate planning effort, which includes short and long-range strategic planning, market research and analytics and pricing.
As head of IT business strategy, he addresses the digital world by identifying and implementing the technologies and operations that make Hyundai products and services unique in a highly competitive market. He was successful in making Hyundai the first automotive brand to offer Android Auto and oversaw the launch of some of Hyundai’s recent technological innovations, such as the Digital Key, while continuing to lead advancements in its Blue Link connected car technology.
On the product front, he’s led the expansion of Hyundai’s eco-friendly vehicle lineup that is currently one of the most diverse in the industry, offering a variety of electric, plug-in electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, including the Kona EV and refreshed Ioniq lineup featuring industry leading gas and electric efficiency levels. Moving forward, he will oversee the growth in Hyundai’s eco-friendly portfolio, which will reach 13 models by 2022 in the U.S.
He has been responsible for the development of models like the all-new Santa Fe that was introduced last year and the dramatic evolution of the marquee 2020 Sonata. He has also been a driving force behind the company’s move to SUVs, including the NEXO fuel cell; the all-new Palisade, Hyundai’s new flagship SUV; the Kona, winner of the prestigious 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year; and the all-new 2020 Venue.