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Hyundai Making Long-Term Gains as Japanese Struggle

But it’s unclear if Koreans are picking up much short-term business during Japanese shortages.

by on Jun.16, 2011

Hyundai products, like the new Elantra, appear well-positioned to pick up sales from struggling Japanese brands.

The shortage of key Japanese products, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic, appears to be having a big impact on the established automotive order.

After years as an also-ran in the compact market, for example, Chevrolet’s new Cruze has been outselling traditional segment leaders Civic and Toyota Corolla.  Meanwhile, Hyundai can barely keep up with demand for its own new compact, the Elantra, which has seen sales more than double over the last year.

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While company officials seem loathe to be seen as taking advantage of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, crippling that nation’s auto industry, analysts believe that the Korean maker is particularly well-positioned to benefit from the disaster.

“The Koreans are clearly in the best position” to benefit , suggested analyst David Sullivan, of the research and consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc.

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Q&A: Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik

Staying hungry to stay ahead.

by on Feb.19, 2010

Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik reveals the new Sonata at the LA Auto Show, last November.

You’ll find John Krafcik out running, every morning, before he sits down with the reporters gathering in San Diego for this week’s launch of the all-new, 2011 Hyundai Sonata.  “Stay humble, stay hungry,” is a favorite phrase for the lean and trim CEO of the Korean maker’s fast-growing U.S. subsidiary, and it’s one that informs the way he runs both his life and his company.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Hyundai was the butt of jokes for late-night comics, a company struggling to just hang on in the hotly competitive U.S. market.  But things have shifted dramatically as the maker has rebuilt its product line and its image, reversing a long-standing reputation for bland design, boring products and questionable quality.

Market share jumped from 3.0% to 4.2% last year – amidst a downturn during which Hyundai was one of only three brands to actually grow volume – but 2010 will be the real test of Hyundai’s turnaround.

(Click Here for the results of a new study revealing Hyundai, Ford making significant gains in share, loyalty and more.)    (more…)