DETROIT (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co. said on Monday it had named a new executive to head its North American operations, capping a year when it fell short of sales targets and saw its U.S. market share stall.
Hyundai Motor America said Jong Eun Kim would become president and CEO of the Fountain Valley, Calif.-based arm of the South Korean automaker.
Kim replaces Ok Suk Koh, who was named to head operations in China for Hyundai affiliate Kia Motors Corp.
The changes are effective on Jan. 1, Hyundai said in a statement.
The new appointment comes after Hyundai fell short of ambitious U.S. sales targets for 2007 even as Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. gained ground.
Hyundai chief operating officer Steve Wilhite, who was hired away from Nissan Motor in 2006, resigned in September at the same time the Korean automaker scaled back its U.S. sales target.
Hyundai's share of the U.S. market was steady at just under 3 percent through November. The automaker sold 420,000 cars and light trucks through the first 11 months of the year.
The company had set a full-year sales goal of 512,000, down from an original projection of 555,000 vehicles.
Earlier this decade, Hyundai had seen sharp growth in the U.S. market driven by an attention-grabbing 10-year warranty. In 2003, Hyundai projected that it would sell 1 million vehicles in the United States by 2010.
But Hyundai's growth has slowed over the past two years as rivals stepped up their competing warranty offers and the overall U.S. vehicle market began to soften.