By on October 29, 2018


After barely a year in the biggest office at Hyundai Motor America, CEO Kyung Soo Lee has returned to South Korea, leaving the automaker’s American arm looking for a new boss. Lee served as an interim leader after Hyundai sacked former CEO Dave Zuchowski in December 2016, taking on the top spot last September.

The CEO search comes as Hyundai attempts to reverse falling sales in the United States with a product offensive. There’s also a engine fire problem the feds want Hyundai to answer to.

According to a Hyundai spokesperson, there’s no named replacement. The former CEO will serve as an advisor to the company after returning to the automaker’s home base. One thing’s for sure — Lee won’t have to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee on November 14th alongside a representative from the automaker’s Kia sister division.

In late June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into non-collision fires in certain Hyundai and Kia models. Safety groups have called for a massive recall of 3 million vehicles from the 2011 to 2014 model years. At this point, neither Hyundai nor Kia have agreed to appear before the committee.

After being caught off guard by the crossover wave sweeping the American populace, Hyundai unveiled a product plan flush with the high-riding vehicles. No longer able to count on Elantras, Accents, and Sonatas for American volume, the automaker introduced the Kona subcompact crossover earlier this year, following it up with a larger Santa Fe as a replacement for the Santa Fe Sport. The old Santa Fe, renamed the Santa Fe XL, disappears next year, replaced by a brawnier vehicle that’ll probably carry the Palisade name. There’s also a slightly refreshed Tucson appearing for the 2019 model year.

While Lee’s departure from HMA was the top Hyundai headline in the U.S. on Monday, it wasn’t the only news making ripples. The automaker announced Monday that it will create two new business units — one focused on mobility and emerging technologies, the other on hydrogen fuel cell vehicle development.

[Source: Automotive News Europe] [Image: Hyundai]

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5 Comments on “Hyundai Motor America Looking for Another CEO...”

  • avatar

    “The automaker announced Monday that it will create two new business units — one focused on mobility and emerging technologies, the other on hydrogen fuel cell vehicle development.”

    They have built two new altars on which to sacrifice virgin dollars and won. Hoping to appease the gods of “market forces”.

  • avatar

    Hyundai needs to improve their gas mileage numbers. Toyota and Honda cars and SUV’s are much better. New 2019 Santa Fe AWD gets 24 mpg …. new Rav4 and CRV are in the 30+mpg

    • 0 avatar

      Hyundai’s CUV’s line up doesn’t really line up well with Toyota’s or Honda’s. The Rav4 and CRV split the difference between the Tucson and Santa Fe. The Tucson is slight smaller than the Rav4/CRV (but it has a similar wheelbase) while the Santa Fe, in short wheelbase form, is larger (by a fairly decent amount ~5-7″) but not quite Highlander/Pilot sized. So the Santa Fe gets worse fuel economy, but it is also a larger and heavier vehicle.

      The line up more resembles Ford/GM’s- Tucson is basically Escape/Equinox sized while Santa Fe is Edge/new Blazer sized.

    • 0 avatar

      The Santa Fe is a little larger than the Rav4 or CRV. The Tuscon is the proper comparison. Also, the Santa Fe can be equipped with a much larger engine than either the Rav4 or CRV.

    • 0 avatar

      The Santa Fe competes against other “tweeners” like the Murano and Edge.

      Honda will be entering the segment with the revived Passport nameplate.

      And really depends on model and powertrain.

      For instance, CR observed combined 33 MPG for the Fit EX, Rio S and Accent SEL; and 32 MPG for the Yaris LE.

      CR also CR observed 33 MPG for the Elantra SE and Forte LX (note: the new Forte w/ the iVT gets better fuel economy) whereas the Corolla LE Plus and Civic LX get a combined 32 MPG.

      Where H/K fall behind is w/ the Sonata and Optima (2.4L) – combined 28 MPG while the Camry LE gets 32 MPG and the Accord EX (1.5T) gets 31 MPG.

      But both Toyota and Honda recently updated their powertrains.

      The 2.4L and 2.0T in the Sonata and Optima are at the end of the their life-cycle and will soon be replaced by a new (more powerful and efficient) 2.5L and 2.5T.

      H/K likely will stick to the 8 spd AT on the next Sonata and Optima instead of going w/ a CVT like much of the competition.

      The Sonata also is currently available w/ the 1.6T and DCT combo which is very fuel efficient.

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