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[Foreign Executives] Han Sung Motor revenue triples under Ausprung leadership

As the longest-serving CEO in the local auto importer community, the German marketing expert has been lauded for service innovation, CSR

In the trendy industry of luxury automobiles -- particularly in a country where the market is highly volatile, depending on social and even political factors -- sustaining a respected premium business is indeed a challenging task.

Balancing confidence with humility with accrued sophistication, Han Sung Motor CEO Ulf Ausprung is responsible for the stellar performance over the past few years of the largest official Mercedes-Benz dealer here.

According to CEO Score, a local corporate tracker, Han Sung Motor’s revenue has tripled under Ausprung’s leadership. The German marketing expert is also the longest-serving CEO among all South Korea’s foreign car dealers.

Han Sung Motor CEO Ulf Ausprung (Han Sung Motor)
Han Sung Motor CEO Ulf Ausprung (Han Sung Motor)

Since taking the CEO post in November 2011, Ausprung has seen Han Sung Motor’s revenue surge to 2.48 trillion won last year, from 777.3 billion won in 2011. The dealer’s operating profit jumped nearly 4.5 times in the same period, from 7.9 billion won to 36.2 billion won, data showed.

Han Sung sold about half of all the Mercedes-Benz cars sold here, CEO Score suggested.

The German carmaker sold 51,264 cars last year, a 262 percent increase from 19,534 in 2011.

With a trustworthy sales and after-service network as one of its guiding principles, Han Sung has 17 showrooms and 22 after-sales service centers across the country, the largest operation base for any single Mercedes-Benz sales unit. It also has seven separate showrooms for certified used car sales.

At the heart of Han Sung’s marketing strategy is its Vision 2020, announced in 2015.

Determined to tackle the notorious reputation of after-sales services for imported cars by offering standardized, high-quality services, Ausprung established a “customer-oriented service innovation system.”

Detail-oriented, consistent customer service and events have helped the company retain loyal customers while also attracting younger customers by expanding and diversifying communication channels via social media.

In April, the dealer, as the first foreign sales business here, received quality certification from the Korean Standards Association for all 22 of its after-sales service centers.

The certification mark, KS for Korean Standards, is given to business entities that maintain excellent services, facilities and operation systems while also complying with environmental protection and worker safety regulations. Han Sung’s after-sales services centers passed assessments in all 28 categories, the company said.

Fulfilling its corporate responsibility, Ausprung also launched the Dream Gream art scholarship project in 2012, with a mission to support young artists from disadvantaged families until they graduate high school.

The scholarship project offers diverse educational programs, including mentoring sessions with undergraduates studying art at university, meetups and opportunities for collaboration with famous artists. It also provides intensive summer art camps and financial support.

In recognition of Han Sung’s CSR efforts and its contributions to society, in October 2016 Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon awarded honorary Seoul citizenship to Ausprung.

Han Sung Motor also received a commendation from the minister of culture at the 2017 Mecenat Awards, the dealer said, and at last year’s Seoul CSR Awards it received a commendation from Seoul’s mayor as one of seven companies that had undertaken outstanding CSR activities.

Ausprung joined Han Sung Motor after building his career at Mercedes-Benz China and Chrysler China as sales head and marketing head. He also teaches design management at Yonsei University.

By Cho Chung-un (