The heir-apparent to the Hyundai-Kia motor group is touring Hyundai Motor America this week. Hyundai Motor Co. vice chairman Chung Eui-sun will have his first trip to the carmaker’s US operations since Dave Zuchowski became chief executive of Hyundai Motor America on Jan. 1, 2014. South Korea's Yonhap news agency referred to the trip as a field inspection targeted at igniting sales at its US operations.
Chung -- the only son of Hyundai-Kia chairman and patriarch Chung Mong-koo -- is also expected to reiterate the push to improve quality, Yonhap said. The vice-chairman is set to visit the Montgomery assembly site in Alabama and the Hyundai’s North America headquarters and sales office in California.
Chung’s visit underscores Hyundai's redoubled focus on reigniting business in what it considers as one of its most important markets, only next to China. In 2013, Hyundai sold 720,783 units in the US, accounting for around 15 percent of the 4.73 million vehicles sold globally.
Zuchowski is aiming to stabilize the Hyundai’s wild ride in the US in recent years. The brand was well received in North America from 2009 through 2012. It grew 24 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in 2011. Growth slowed down in 2012 to 9 percent, and slid further to just 3 percent in 2013 – no thanks to rivals regaining their vitality and Hyundai's production capacity limiting sales.
Chung is expected to arrive at the Georgia site Tuesday and then assess efforts to improve quality and efficiency, Yonhap reported, citing company officials. Yonhap said that Chung’s California visit will focus on devising a plan to boost sales.