RYAN BEENE

Did Hyundai promote top sales exec to prevent another defection?

Ryan Beene is a Los Angeles-based reporter for Automotive NewsRyan Beene is a Los Angeles-based reporter for Automotive News
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Hyundai wants to hold on to Dave Zuchowski.

On Tuesday, Hyundai promoted Zuchowski, its U.S. sales boss, to executive vice president of sales.

Zuchowski had been vice president of sales since he joined Hyundai Motor America in February 2007. So the promotion doesn't really change his day-to-day responsibilities, said spokesman Chris Hosford.

Rather, Hosford said, it's to recognize the work Zuchowski has done for the brand on the sales front.

Hyundai was one of three brands to increase U.S. sales in 2009, along with Kia and Subaru. Hyundai sold 410,047 vehicles through September, a 20 percent increase over 2009 in a market that was up 10 percent.

That's not the only story line at Hyundai this year. Hyundai has lost two marketing chiefs to rivals in the past six months. Joel Ewanick and his successor, Chris Perry, are now at General Motors Co.

It's unknown if other automakers have tried to lure Zuchowski away from his Southern California post. But it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that Zuchowski has been approached.

Hyundai surely wants to keep its momentum going. After seeing what has happened in its marketing ranks, the brand seems willing to do what it takes to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

PRESS RELEASE: Hyundai Promotes Dave Zuchowski to Executive Vice President of Sales


FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik today named Dave Zuchowski executive vice president of sales. Zuchowski joined the Hyundai team in 2007 as vice president of sales. He is responsible for all sales, sales operations, market representation, field operations and overall dealer relations. During his time at Hyundai, Zuchowski has improved sales and market share, while also improving the quality of Hyundai's retail network.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20091001/HYUNDAILOGO)

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091001/HYUNDAILOGO)

"Dave has distinguished himself as a leader in our industry in sales, incentives, advertising, and dealer development," said Krafcik. "We've seen Dave set a new standard for cooperation and teamwork with other divisions. He's truly a team player, with a rare combination of passion, intelligence, creativity and diligence, and we congratulate him on this much-deserved promotion."

Zuchowski, a 30-year veteran of the automotive industry, joined Hyundai from Mazda North America where he served as vice president of sales and field operations. He began his career in 1980 at Ford Motor Company as a sales associate. Zuchowski earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Washington.

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, 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 about 800 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 warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

You can reach Ryan Beene at rbeene@crain.com. -- Follow Ryan on Twitter

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