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For the past four and a half years, Hyundai's marketing efforts in America have been steered by Steve Shannon. But now the Korean automaker is going to have to find a new marketing guru, because Shannon has reportedly stepped down with apparently immediate effect.

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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.

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Hyundai Motor America has announced that Dave Zuchowski has been promoted to executive vice president of sales for the company. Zuchowski has been with the Korean automaker since 2007 when he came on board as the VP of sales. Since then, he has helped increase both market share and sales, and he's also worked to improve the company's retail network.

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Hyundai Motor America can officially stick another feather in its cap. The company has successfully managed to woo Mike O'Brien from the clutches of Toyota and back onto the Korean automaker's team. O'Brien worked at Hyundai for a full 14 years as a product planner before jumping ship and heading over to Toyota as a corporate manager. Now he's back, and will be filling the role of vice president of product and corporate planning under the Hyundai flag.

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Hyundai swung with the Genesis and connected big time. But even though the Korean automaker wants to take its public perception upward, that doesn't mean it plans to keep releasing big, luxury sedans. For the six new and redesigned models that will appear by 2011, Hyundai America's product development chief says "We're looking at small, fuel-efficient cars." The company will also be giving buyers the option of putting smaller engines in some of their vehicles.

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