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Hyundai’s honorary chairman inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame

Hyundai Motor Group’s Honorary Chairman Chung Mong-Koo speaks with a staff during his visit to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing plant in Alabama, the US in 2014. (Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group’s Honorary Chairman Chung Mong-Koo speaks with a staff during his visit to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing plant in Alabama, the US in 2014. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group’s Honorary Chairman Chung Mong-Koo became the first Korean to be officially inducted into the international Automotive Hall of Fame, the automotive giant said Friday.

His son, Chung Euisun, who is the incumbent chairman of the group, received the trophy and delivered a speech on behalf of his father at the ceremony for 2020 and 2021 inductees, held at the ICON Convention Center in Detroit, the United States on Thursday, the company said.

“Honorary Chairman Chung grew Hyundai Motor group into the world’s fifth largest automaker from its humble beginnings,” Chung Euisun said.

“If my father were here, he would say he owes this honor to our employees, dealers and fantastic customers.”

He also spoke on how his father continued the legacy of his late grandfather and the founder of Hyundai Motor Group, Chung Ju-yung, to expand the conglomerate’s presence globally.

According to the Automotive Hall of Fame, Hyundai Motor Group’s success owes much to Chung Mong-koo, now 83, and his legacy is on par with other legends of the industry who have launched and guided automotive firms to global growth and renown. 
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun (center) pose with Ramzi Hermiz, the chairman of Automotive Hall of Fame (left) and Vice Chairman K.C. Crain, holding the Automotive Hall of Fame trophy on behalf of his father Chung Mong-koo, the group’s honorary chairman, at the induction ceremony at the ICON Convention Center in Detroit, the United States, on Thursday. (Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun (center) pose with Ramzi Hermiz, the chairman of Automotive Hall of Fame (left) and Vice Chairman K.C. Crain, holding the Automotive Hall of Fame trophy on behalf of his father Chung Mong-koo, the group’s honorary chairman, at the induction ceremony at the ICON Convention Center in Detroit, the United States, on Thursday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

The Automotive Hall of Fame also took note of Chung’s other accomplishments -- his decision to acquire crosstown rival Kia, and also the establishment of new plants in key regions including the US, China, India and Europe among others.

The Automotive Hall of Fame was established in 1939 to honor notable business leaders who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the automotive industry and mobility.

Previously, the Automotive Hall of Fame honored Chung with its Distinguished Service Citation Award in 2001, Hyundai said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony was held to celebrate the inductees for both 2020 and 2021.

Inductees announced in 2020 include Thomas Gallagher, former chief executive officer of Genuine Parts Company; Jay Leno, automotive heritage leadership through his Jay Leno’s Garage series on CNBC; and Helene Rother, one of the first women in automotive interior design for General Motors and Nash Motors.

For 2021, C.R. Patterson and Frederick Patterson, leaders of the US’ first and only African American owned auto manufacturer and Charlie Wiggins, a barrier-breaking motorsports racer and engineer have been inducted.

Chung Mong-Koo joined Hyundai Motor Company in 1970 as an auto parts manager at its Seoul office, and became the group’s chairman in 2000.

He stepped down from all management positions at affiliates in October last year, handing over the leader post to his son.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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