There are two ways to look at Hyundai Motor America Inc.
On the one hand, it's a company on a roll. With a boost from new products and one of the industry's boldest warranties, its sales have grown more than 40 percent a year for three consecutive years. In the process, it has strained the ability of plants in Korea to supply it with vehicles, leading to a decision to build a $1 billion factory in Mississippi.
On the other hand, Hyundai can be seen as just another middle-of-the pack importer with a long way to go to achieve Tier 1 status.
CEO Finbarr O'Neill views his company the second way.
The 50-year-old O'Neill, who has been top dog at Hyundai since its turnaround began in 1998, says the company still has a long way to go to convince U.S. consumers that it's acceptable to park a Hyundai in their driveways. Despite the brand's takeoff, he says, Hyundai can't afford to congratulate itself yet. In fact, he says, hubris is the company's greatest danger.
O'Neill spoke with Staff Reporter Joe Kohn in Los Angeles last month about some of the challenges facing the Korean automaker.