Chung Mong Koo hosted the opening of Hyundai's Alabama plant.
The president, executive vice president of administration and executive vice president of purchasing will return to Korea, effective immediately, Hyundai confirmed last week.
The company said the management changes have nothing to do with what it characterized as normal delays in opening the $1.1 billion plant in Montgomery, Ala.
The highly automated factory is running slower than anticipated.
Hyundai made headlines in 2004 when it said it would produce 150,000 vehicles in its first year -- more than 60 percent more than its previous plan for 93,000.
During the May 20 plant opening, which included a cameo by former President George Bush, company officials said they expect to build 80,000 vehicles by year end. Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong Koo hosted the grand opening.
"We aren't going to let targets and line speed drive our mind-set," said John Kalson, production director for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC.
A press release last week said the senior management changes are part of the company's strategy to exchange the construction and startup team with a team to "transition to full-scale commercial production."
Leaving the project are:
Joo-Soo Ahn becomes CEO in Alabama. He is COO of the company's plant in Asan, Korea. Both Asan and Montgomery build the 2006 Sonata.
Hyundai will continue to import the 2006 Sonata from Korea. The company's plan from the beginning was to bring over 20,000 Korean Sonatas to cover the U.S. startup.
Norman Thorpe in Seoul contributed to this report
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