Hyundai Reorganizes with Executive Shakeups

In a previous Kia recall the engine block was incorrectly machined and the right side output gear in the transmission and the intermediate driveshaft were damaged. A current Hyundai Kia recall is from bearing wear that results in engine seizures.

In what’s called a series of Hyundai Motor Company personnel appointments designed to make the company more globalized and customer-oriented, Yong-woo (William) Lee, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America will also assume the role of president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America on an interim basis.

William Lee succeeds Kyung Soo (Kenny) Lee who is returning to Hyundai Motor Company as an “adviser.” A search for a permanent president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America will begin immediately. Lee headed  Hyundai’s operations in the U.S. from September 2017. The job was held by Dave Zuchowski, who was fired in December 2016 for failing to meet sales targets.

Kenny Lee’s departure comes as Hyundai confronts mounting pressure to address reports about no collision engine fires in some of its vehicles. (See AutoInforned on Center for Auto Safety Demands Recall of 2.9 Million 2011-2014 Kia and Hyundai Vehicles for Fires)

William Lee, who has been with Hyundai for 35 years and most recently assumed the helm of the newly established Hyundai Motor North America. This operation supposedly provides greater integration across the entire region to actively respond to evolving market trends and customer needs.

Prior to his current role, William Lee was the head of Hyundai Motor Brazil, and spent time in charge of international sales at Hyundai Motor Company in Seoul. He also has extensive experience in the U.S. market, leading the creation of INNOCEAN USA in 2009 and running overseas sales for Hyundai Mobis Parts based in San Francisco.

“First, I would like to thank Kenny Lee for his contributions and helping put Hyundai Motor America in a stronger position than when he joined,” said William Lee. “The efforts we’ve made with our recent product introductions and improvements in the overall customer experience have directly led to retail sales and market share gains over the past several months. This is an incredibly exciting time to be working at Hyundai and I’m proud to lead this dedicated and passionate team.”

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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1 Response to Hyundai Reorganizes with Executive Shakeups

  1. The CEOs of Kia and Hyundai have been asked to appear before Congress next month to answer questions regarding a series of vehicle fires affecting the automakers, according to Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL).

    The move comes in response to a growing number of complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) involving non-collision-related fires in Kia and Hyundai vehicles. The Center for Auto Safety reported last week that 103 fire complaints had been filed with NHTSA since June 12, an 85% increase. To date, there has been at least one non-collision fire-related fatality when an Ohio man burned to death last year after getting in his mother’s 2014 Kia Soul.

    “We’ve got to get to the bottom of what’s causing these fires,” said Nelson. “Car owners need to know if their vehicles are safe.”

    The Senate Commerce Science & Transportation Committee intends to hold the hearing on Wednesday, November 14.

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