Staying in Ulsan for one night may or may not have been worth it because we had to check out early Tuesday morning. Our company visit was at Hyundai Moter Company. I was really excited for this one because it would be really cool to see the biggest production site for one of the most popular automobiles in the world. It started off with a short presentation about the company and gave us insight into its mass production scale.
They have 20 factories and produce 5.5 million cars a year. Just Ulsan itself does 1/3 of all production and house 32,000 employees.They also make essential auto parts and 5 different types of transmission. The site has its own hospital with nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and acupuncture. The employees cannot use personal cars and instead there are shuttles that go around the site. They have their own police force, fire trucks, and a large cafeteria for all its employees. A lot of the car parts are provided but the manufacturing itself takes the longest. The manufacturing is also tailored to what the customer has ordered.
You can even tell where the car is being shipped to based on its color; the bright cars go to Canada or Middle East while a lot of the neutral grays, blacks, and whites are at . Every single car has to go through quality control and has to be tested to meet the standards. It’s been said that the paint job is the longest and tedious step in the entire process.
The tour itself was really impressive as the site is absolutely huge. We watched the cars get loaded onto the massive cargo ships. Apparently there are 13 floors inside and an average ship can approximately take 6000 Accents (which are the small cars) in one trip. Most of the exports from Ulsan are to the USA which takes about 4-5 weeks. The tour guide mentioned that they don’t hire foreigners or people who don’t speak good Korean because there’s a communication gap and in the manufacturing industry, communication is vital.
After this company visit, we drove to Busan and Dr. Yun wanted to stop at Hae-un Day Beach first. So we walked around the most popular beach in South Korea in our business casual and got chicken and ice cream for lunch nearby. Then we left, checked into the hotel, rested a little, and went to Song-do Beach nearby. Busan is huge and our hotel was tucked in a corner so we had to bus or taxi everywhere we went.
Song-do Beach was beautiful in its own respect, there was a cable line/gondola that some of us went on, but I just walked around and got even more chicken for dinner. Dr. Yun and Dr. Clark treated us with shaved ice cream for dessert!