Hyundai Motors Chief Stepping Down

John Krafick, the chief of Hyundai Motor America is stepping down. His successor will take over as CEO and president on January 1. David Zuchowski will succeed Krafick.

Zuchowski joined the company in February of 2007 and is currently its executive vice president of sales.

Hyundai described the new CEO as a veteran of 33 years in the automobile industry. Previously he worked with Mazda North America as its vice president of field operations and sales.

Zuchowski started his career in the automotive industry in 1980 with Ford Motor Co., as a regional manager, manager of national merchandising, manager of product marketing and manager of field operations for the Lincoln Mercury and Ford division.

Zuchowski said he was both excited and humbled to be in charge Hyundai Motor America and lead it into its next chapter through continuing to build off John’s legacy.

He also said he intended to put much focus on building the best quality, most diverse and safest fleet of autos that customers like.

This year, the automaker did not get off to a good start, when its manufacturing plants reached maximum capacity and it cost the company many sales.

For the first six months of 2013, sales at Hyundai in the U.S. were only up 1.9%, which is less than 25% of the overall auto market’s growth rate for the same period of 8.4%.

The EPA also determined in 2012 that Kia and Hyundai overstated claims of gas mileage on their window stickers for more than 900,000 vehicles over the past three years.

Kia Motors America and Hyundai Motor America, the U.S. arms for sales of the automakers based in South Korea, recently announced that a settlement of $400 million had been reached in litigation over the inflated claims of fuel economy for the vehicles.

Hyundai is offering the owners of those models that were overstated in fuel economy a one-time payment that will be an average of $353. The amount varies depending upon the vehicle being leased or purchased. The average payment from Kia will be $667.

The overall settlement covers approximately 600,000 vehicles from Hyundai and 300,000 of Kia.

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