UPDATE 2-Hyundai Motor U.S. names new chief, Krafcik out

Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:02pm EST
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By Bernie Woodall

DETROIT Dec 27 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co said on Friday its U.S. chief, John Krafcik, is stepping down after his contract was not renewed and will be replaced by the U.S. sales chief David Zuchowski.

During Krafcik's five-year tenure Hyundai's share of the U.S. market rose to as high as 5.1 percent for 2011 from 3 percent in 2008. But it has fallen to 4.6 percent due mainly to production capacity constraints.

Zuchowski is 55. He takes over on Jan. 1 after the surprise announcement of Krafcik's departure. Krafcik's contract expires at the end of the year.

Neither Zuchowski nor a Hyundai spokesman gave any reason for why the parent company in South Korea did not offer Krafcik a contract extension.

Krafcik, 52, led the U.S. arm of Hyundai as it set sales records using innovative marketing techniques including a program that allowed Hyundai buyers who lost their jobs during the recession in 2009 to return their new cars.

But Krafcik also oversaw Hyundai as the company was cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for overstating fuel mileage claims on its cars in 2012.

Last week, Hyundai reached a preliminary $210 million settlement on the fuel mileage issue in a class action suit. Kia Motors, which is Hyundai's sister company but is mostly operated separately in the United States, reached a settlement of $185 million last week.   Continued...