Hyundai Motor Group chairman Mong-Koo Chung will be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, the industry's top honour, in, as the Americans put it, "the class of 2020".

He will be the first Korean inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame which was established in 1939 and has honoured nearly 800 business leaders from around the world. The 2020 awards ceremony will be held in Detroit on 23 July.

Past inductees have included Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford, American inventor Thomas Edison, Mercedes-Benz founder Karl Benz, Honda Motor Company founder Soichiro Honda and Toyota Motor Corporation founder Kiichiro Toyoda.

The Automotive Hall of Fame honoured Chung with its Distinguished Service Citation award in 2001.

The organisation annually acknowledges people who have contributed greatly to automotive history with one of five types of awards, including: Hall of Fame Induction, Industry Leader, Distinguished Service Citation, Mobility Innovator, and Young Leadership & Excellence Award. 

"Induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame is reserved for individuals who have created, shaped, and changed the mobility market. These individuals have exceeded in a way that stands out from their peers – they are responsible for a step change in innovation, business operations, and impact on consumers and the public," Hall of Fame president Sarah Cook said.

The organisation said in a statement Chung has been credited with the success of Hyundai Motor Group with a legacy on par with other legends of the industry who have launched and guided automotive firms to global growth and renown.

On his watch, Hyundai has became Korea's largest automaker and HMG the fifth largest automotive group.

He is noted for many accomplishments, including acquiring Kia Motors, spearheading group growth with new plants in key regions, including the US, Europe, China, India, Brazil and Russia plus creating a highly efficient, vertically integrated business structure which produces everything from steel to vehicles.

One of the top business leaders in Korea, Chung has been a steadfast champion for development of the nation's automobile industry and economy. Amid the collapse of the Korean automotive industry during the 1990s Asian financial crisis, Chung successfully revived Kia Motors and fostered it as a global automotive brand.

Hyundai Motor Group rapidly expanded to compete head to head with leading global automakers. As a result, Chung's efforts affected lasting change in the global automotive landscape and the Korean economy.

The Hall of Fame also noted Chung helped grow the material industry by constructing integrated steel mill operations, creating a highly efficient vertically integrated business structure. The integrated steel mills allowed for synergy maximisation within the group and environmentally sustainable manufacturing by establishing the world's first resource-circulation business structure.