Hyundai Myth Exploded… Maybe
More than a few industry pundits have taken to calling Hyundai "the next Toyota." The spin: Hyundai is a formidable low-cost automaker whose high quality products are stealing side dishes from Toyota's table, eying the Japanese automaker's main course. As our Steven Lang has pointed out, the Sonata's lackluster U.S. sales help partially put paid to that theory. And now Chosun explodes the myth entirely. The South Korean newspaper reports that the Federation of Korean Industries has discovered that Korea's largest carmaker produced 29.6 cars per worker last year, 57 percent fewer than Toyota's 68.9 cars per worker. "Hyundai Motor’s sales and operating profit per worker were also no more than 40.8 and 22.2 percent of those of Toyota. The Korean company's productivity was worse than that of six other international automakers. Compared to the assembly productivity of 21.1 to 23.2 hours per vehicle by Ford, Honda, General Motors and Toyota, Hyundai and Kia recorded 31.1 and 37.5 hours, respectively." And here's the kicker: "Hyundai paid its workers more than Toyota, with an annual average salary per worker of W57m (US$1=W934) compared to Toyota's W55 million."
UPDATE This just in from Deep Throat: "Methinks the Korean reporting on Hyundai is wrong. There is no way the production per worker is half that of Toyota and they get paid more. They’d be bankrupt. Also, IIRC, the Nummi plant in NorCal produces something like 400,000 units per year on 4,500 workers… but if you add sales/admin/corp staff to that, I can believe somewhere around 70 units/worker/year. And Toyota/Ford/GM take about 30+ manhours per unit of production, not in the low 20 hour range."