On his first business trip to the United States this year, the chairman this week visited the local production plants of Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors, located in Alabama and Georgia, respectively.
“Our success story in the U.S. market started at this Alabama plant where the first production model was the Sonata,” Chung said Wednesday during his visit to the factory that recently started rolling out the revamped Sonata.
|Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo and company executives examine cars at Hyundai Motor’s Alabama plant on Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor Group)|
“The past decade was a preparatory stage for us to become a top-notch brand. In the next 10 years, we should ramp up efforts to become the most beloved car brand among customers.”
Since operations at the Alabama plant launched in 2005, Hyundai has expanded its presence drastically in the all-important U.S. market.
Its U.S. sales soared to 720,000 vehicles last year from some 460,000 units in 2007, while exports from its Korean plants to the country almost doubled to 320,000 vehicles during the same period.
With Kia opening its own plant in Georgia in 2009, the cumulative U.S. production of the Korean duo exceeded 4 million as of July.
Before wrapping up his three-day U.S. trip, the Hyundai chairman also had separate meetings with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to discuss potential future partnerships, officials said.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)