Hyundai CEO John Krafcik.
The purple seats simply had to go.
There was a time when Korean managers thought that whatever would sell in the home market would be fine with U.S. buyers, including an array of funky paint and fabric colors — at least, as long as the price was low enough. But then Hyundai went into freefall.
Today, U.S. market demands are clearly being taken seriously by Hyundai Motor Co., the maker’s California-based design center playing a serious role in the development of such new vehicles as the quirky 3-door Veloster and i30 – which will soon reach the States as the Elantra Touring.
If anything, expect the U.S. to gain an even more significant role in making key decisions, suggests Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik, because America has lately become Hyundai’s biggest market, a trend likely to continue as the maker surges from one U.S. sales record to another.
Barring an unforeseen and unlikely setback during the final 100 days of 2011, Hyundai is on a path to nip the 600,000 sales mark, up from a record 540,000 last year. In fact, the biggest problem the maker seems to have right now is getting enough vehicles to meet U.S. demand, especially for products like the compact Elantra and midsize Sonata.