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Hyundai nurtures young Brazilian talent

Hyundai Motor, which is gaining sales momentum in Brazil, is expanding social contribution activities as part of its efforts to renew its brand image there. On top of that, it is focusing on supporting young Brazilian talent through internship programs.

The Korean auto giant, which entered the Brazil market in 1992, suffered a 29 percent plunge in car sales in the first half of last year after the Brazilian government toughened regulations and increased tariffs on imported car brands.

Hyundai, however, has witnessed a major turnaround in the following months with the completion of its first Latin American plant in Sao Paulo. Especially, since the Brazil-exclusive compact hatchback HB20 was named the Brazil Car of the Year. 
Brazilian students who were participating in Hyundai Motor’s internship program pose together with company officials at the carmaker’s headquarters in southern Seoul. (Hyundai Motor)
Brazilian students who were participating in Hyundai Motor’s internship program pose together with company officials at the carmaker’s headquarters in southern Seoul. (Hyundai Motor)

Last month, Hyundai sold 10,179 units of the HB20, which contributed to the company’s record-high market share in Brazil for the month.

In total, the carmaker sold a total of 14,617 vehicles in the Brazilian market last month for a market share of 6.6 percent, up one notch from the previous month, according to the data by the Brazilian Automotive Industry Association.

For its annual target, the company earlier said it would sell 200,000 vehicles in Brazil to become one of the top five carmakers there.

The carmaker is now stepping up efforts to elevate its brand awareness among Brazilian customers as it carries out diverse social contribution activities there.

Starting last year, Hyundai has participated in the Brazilian government’s initiative called “Science without Borders,” which aims to nurture talented students especially in science and support them to study and work abroad.

Five students took part in Hyundai’s internship program during the summer vacation last year and another 44 students worked for four weeks in the winter at Hyundai Motor and its affiliates such as Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Hyundai Mobis.

Hyundai plans to operate the program twice a year by 2014, with each session inviting some 60 students.

“I was lucky to join the project to design a Brazil-only concept car together with world-class specialists at an international carmaker,” said Renata Michels Thiel, who worked as an intern at Hyundai’s design team this year. “The experience inspired me to dream of becoming a car designer.”

The carmaker believes its social contribution activities, including the internship program, would play a crucial role in expanding its presence in Brazil ― a boost not just for car sales but also for its brand image overall.

On the business side, the company plans to continue the recent sales momentum, led by the HB20, through new launches such as the Brazil-only car’s sport utility vehicle version, its best-selling hatchback i30 and the Santa Fe SUV this year.

“We plan to increase market share through new vehicles while upping CSR activities to secure a positive brand image among Brazilian customers,” said a Hyundai official.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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