Hyundai Motor’s U.S. CEO Targets 4% Sales Gain This Year

Hyundai Motor Co., which made a surprise U.S. management change in December, will boost market share in 2014 after its growth lagged the industry last year, said U.S. Chief Executive Officer David Zuchowski.

Hyundai should end the year with a 4.7 percent share of the U.S. market, a small improvement from last year’s 4.6 percent, Zuchowski said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show today in Detroit. Longer-term, Seoul-based Hyundai’s U.S. goal is a 5 percent share, with the new Genesis and Sonata models driving gains, Zuchowski said.

“It’s really important to show this wasn’t a one-hit wonder, and we’ll show that this year as we get new products,” he said. “Five percent market share is very important for us. We’re not going to get there this year, but we’re going to turn around the market-share loss.”

Hyundai’s rapid U.S. sales growth -- 79 percent from 2008 through last year -- cooled in 2013 with a 2.5 percent annual gain, as total auto-industry sales expanded 7.6 percent. The company last month named Zuchowski to replace John Krafcik, who’d led the U.S. unit based in Fountain Valley, California, for five years, without elaborating on reasons for the change.

The unit’s volume target is 745,000 vehicles this year, up about 4 percent from 2013, said Zuchowski, who isn’t planning immediate changes in U.S. strategy.

“What’s really nice for me is I’m inheriting a company that’s very strong, it’s growing, it’s got momentum and it’s really not struggling in any way,” he said. “There is no mandate for immediate change.”