Krafcik joined Hyundai in 2004 as the vice president of product development and took on duties as chief executive in 2008. Since then, the automaker has seen a flurry of new products and a substantial jump in market share. His efforts have also helmed Hyundai to two North American Car of the Year awards in 2009 and 2012 for the Genesis and Elantra, respectively. Krafcik also helped Hyundai navigate through the company's fuel economy debacle that began late last year, in which the automaker admitted it overstated the efficiency ratings of many of its automobiles.
The Automotive Executive of the Year Award has been recognizing industry leaders since 1964. You can read the full press release below for more information.
DETROIT, Mich. June 21, 2013 – The prestigious 2013 Automotive Executive of the Year Award was presented today to John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. Krafcik received the recognition surrounded by 175 automotive executives and suppliers, as well as Hyundai guests, dealers, customers, and enthusiasts at an invitation-only luncheon held at the historic Detroit Athletic Club.
Noting the unique culture and energy of the automotive industry in southeast Michigan and adding that he expects much of the innovative technology moving forward to come from suppliers, Krafcik said he was "humbled" to accept the award. "I'm just doing what I love," he said. "I accept this award on behalf of the Hyundai team members, dealers, and suppliers, many of whom are in the room today. Congratulations, everyone!"
Krafcik shared a few personal stories about his industry start working at NUMMI and Ford, saying that the first time he ever saw the Toyota Production System in action, he knew it was a game-changer for the industry. Krafcik worked on the International Motor Vehicle program at MIT and helped coin the term "lean manufacturing."
Krafcik took questions from the guests - which ranged from what cars he owns and the future of hybrids and electrics, to the secrets of a successful model launch and how he maintains a strong, high-quality supply chain. Following the presentation of the Automotive Executive of the Year Award by sponsor DNV's Richard Stolk, Krafick headed outside to meet members of the media and others for interviews and photo opportunities at an impressive, onsite display of 2013 and 2014 Hyundai vehicles.
"It the confluence of leadership, teamwork, and great product that consistently gives Hyundai accolade after accolade," said Robert Djurovic, DNV Business Assurance's director of automotive services - North America and executive director of the 2013 Automotive Executive of the Year Award program. "As John puts it so well, when the industry is busy moving to the left, he takes a look there, but will more intently look at the opportunities on the right.
"His leadership created a dream team whose corporate mantra is defy, design, and delight," Djurovic continued. "How often do you hear carmakers use the word 'delight' in describing how they want to affect their customers?"
Since 1964, the Automotive Executive of the Year Award - the longest-standing and most historically relevant award in the industry - has recognized excellence in industry leadership. Past recipients include Alan Mulally, James O'Sullivan, Jim Press, Carroll Shelby (Lifetime Achievement Award), Bill Ford, Jr., Dieter Zetsche, Henry Ford II, Rick Wagoner, Bob Lutz, Carlos Ghosn, and Lee Iacocca, among others.
The award's history and more information is available at www.autoexecoftheyear.com.