Hyundai Motor America has announced that its affable president and CEO, John Krafcik, will be stepping down from his post on January 1, at the completion of his contract. He'll be replaced by the current executive vice president of sales, David Zuchowski.

Krafcik has helmed Hyundai through a product renaissance that's seen the Korean automaker go from budget afterthought to household name in less than a decade, launching stylish new models and expanding into new markets. "On behalf of Hyundai Motor Company, we sincerely thank John for his visionary leadership and relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction, which has driven Hyundai's record growth over the past five years," said Im Tak Uk, the COO and executive vice president of HMA's parent company, Hyundai Motor Company.

"It's been a sincere privilege and honor to lead Hyundai Motor America over the past five years, and I am confident that with Dave's succession, our brand will continue to expand and thrive for years to come," said Krafcik in a Hyundai press release, available below. "We have many of the best and brightest employees in the business coupled with a committed and talented dealer network that will continue to pay dividends."

Zuchowski takes over for Krafcik after joining the company in 2007 as VP of sales. He's spent 33 years in the industry, starting with Ford in 1980 and serving time at Mazda. "I am both humbled and excited to lead Hyundai Motor America into the next chapter by continuing to build on John's great legacy, and focusing on what matters most – building the highest quality, safest and most diverse fleet of models that customers love," said Zuchowski.

It remains unclear whether this was a voluntary move on Krafcik's part, as he hasn't been linked to any other positions within the industry. Of course, if we hear anything else on this story, we'll update you as soon as possible. Scroll down for the full press release from Hyundai.
Show full PR text
DAVE ZUCHOWSKI NAMED PRESIDENT/CEO OF HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

COSTA MESA, Calif., December 27, 2013 - Hyundai Motor America today announced that President and Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik will step down upon the successful completion of his contract on December 31, 2013. David Zuchowski, executive vice president of Sales, will assume the position of President and CEO effective January 1, 2014.

"On behalf of Hyundai Motor Company, we sincerely thank John for his visionary leadership and relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction, which has driven Hyundai's record growth over the past five years," said Im Tak Uk, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor Company. "John's forward-looking perspective, commitment to quality and design, and pursuit of innovative new product offerings have elevated the Hyundai brand and introduced our vehicles to a new generation of satisfied and loyal customers."

Under Krafcik's tenure with the automaker, Hyundai Motor America experienced dramatic increases in sales volume and market share, while garnering numerous prestigious industry awards. During the same time period, the model year 2009 Genesis and 2012 Elantra took top honors as North American Car of the Year, while numerous Hyundai models received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick designation.

"It's been a sincere privilege and honor to lead Hyundai Motor America over the past five years, and I am confident that with Dave's succession, our brand will continue to expand and thrive for years to come," said Krafcik. "We have many of the best and brightest employees in the business coupled with a committed and talented dealer network that will continue to pay dividends."

Incoming President and CEO David Zuchowski joined Hyundai Motor America in February 2007 as vice president of Sales with responsibility for all sales, sales operations, market representation, field operations and overall dealer relations. A proven 33-year veteran of the automotive industry, Zuchowski was previously with Mazda North America, where he served as vice president of Sales and Field Operations. Zuchowski began his career in 1980 at Ford Motor Company, where he progressed through various executive-level positions including regional manager, product marketing manager, national merchandising manager and field operations manager for the Ford and Lincoln Mercury divisions. Zuchowski earned his Bachelors of Arts in Communications from the University of Washington.

"I am both humbled and excited to lead Hyundai Motor America into the next chapter by continuing to build on John's great legacy, and focusing on what matters most – building the highest quality, safest and most diverse fleet of models that customers love," said Zuchowski.

"Dave has consistently distinguished himself as a results-oriented and motivational leader in our industry," said Im. "During his time at Hyundai, Dave has been instrumental in our growth, especially among our dealers. He exhibits a rare combination of passion, intelligence, creativity and diligence, and we are confident that he is the right choice to build on John's momentum and take Hyundai to new and greater heights."

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 820 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. Hyundai Assurance includes Assurance Connected Care that provides owners of Hyundai models equipped with the Hyundai Blue Link telematics system with proactive safety and car care services, complimentary for three years. These services include Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostic Alert, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and in-vehicle service scheduling.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      After you've been overseeing the production of so many garbage cars, I'm surprised Hyundai took this long to replace him. But then again, their engineers can't even do math properly to calculate MPGs.
        Daniel
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        Dude, STFU!
        mattkpsu
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        I'm happy with my turbo Sonata. They didn't miscalculate the MPG on that one, either, and I actually get the estimated mileage.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Street King
        • 1 Year Ago
        We have a winner.... Krafcik made a half billion dollar "mistake" - and those are the kind that end with you being shown the door, regardless of how good you were otherwise.
          piggybox
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Street King
          and the damage to the brand image could be more than half billion
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Do you guys think Hyundai design will start slacking now that he's leaving? I hope the new CEO is good enough to tell his designers to copy other luxury car designs from Audi and BMW.
      Ben Hayat
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's a huge loss... But something doesn't smell right!
      preston_25
      • 1 Year Ago
      He is a true car guy that knows how to design cars, but most of he knows what consumers wants in he did just that. He will be miss, but I know some struggling auto makers are ready to have him work for them.
        summazooma
        • 1 Year Ago
        @preston_25
        Sorry, he was the head of Hyundai Motor America, the company set up to market, sell, service Hyundai products in the U.S.; he was previously Chief Engineer for the Expedition/Navigator at Ford Motor Company. Especially at HMA, he didn't "design" a car in the sense that most people outside of the industry would consider "design". Of entities in the U.S., any engineering would have been done by Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI) teams (though most engineering is still done in Nam Yang R&D headquarters) and the "design" was done by Hyundai California Design (HCD), over neither of which he had any authority. He's a wonderfully talented executive, however, who had a real sense for how to manage sales efforts for a company that was investing heavily in new products & the local production in the U.S. to source them. He had a great sense for marketing, leading to trusting consultants' advice to try audacious things such as the Hyundai Assurance buy-back promise in the lowest moments of the Great Recession, and avoiding the trap of a luxury channel for the Genesis & Equus (instead, offering a remote concierge service plan on the Equus that protected both the buyers from the injustice of having to bring their cars in to a service aisle shared with $10k Accents, and the dealers from having to set up stand-alone facilities)... the dealers loved him. He's got a great way about him, which led to his being named one of the top industry's executives, a number of times, despite being somewhat hamstrung by Hyundai corporate politics which can be much more limiting to transplant operations than even the most conservative of Japanese companies. The fact that he was often higher on these lists of top executives than Hyundai Motor's Chairman Chung could not have been very popular in the Hyundai tower in Seoul.
        BrianD
        • 1 Year Ago
        @preston_25
        Over to Nissan!
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow, I can't believe they're letting Krafcik leave. Hyundai used to flip US chiefs on what seemed like an annual basis, until Krafcik came along. Maybe he is headed for bigger and better things, like head of Ford.
      zanarditypes
      • 1 Year Ago
      He's too young to retire. There's certainly more to come from Mr Krafcik.
      Gorgenapper
      • 1 Year Ago
      Suspicious. I thought they were doing really well with him at the helm?
      dlopez1501
      • 1 Year Ago
      Get ready for low quality hyundais
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Oliver
      • 1 Year Ago
      heard Microsoft has an opening, lol
    • Load More Comments