By Kim Da-ye
Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo was chosen as Asia's best chief executive officer (CEO) Monday, in the "All-Stars" list published by American auto weekly, Automotive News.
"Chung, 72, turned the Hyundai brand into a superpower, boosting global sales and share in defiance of a torturous world economy that had rivals floundering," the auto weekly publication said.
"The Korean boss pushed his company into new segments, built on steady and dramatic improvement in quality and handed U.S. executives more autonomy," it said, praising Chung's management of Hyundai Motor that made $71 billion in revenue and earned profits of $2.3 billion worldwide in the year ending in March.
Chung was cited in 2005 by Automotive News for launching the firm's U.S. plant in Alabama as well as improving the quality of Hyundai and Kia cars significantly.
The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group welcomed the news in a press release, saying, "The selection of Chairman Chung Mong-koo as Asia's best CEO by Automotive News means he has been recognized as the automotive tycoon leading the global auto industry. Moreover, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have become global car companies that can match the world's top car brands."
Hyundai Motor sold 255,782 vehicles in the U.S. between January and June 2010, while over 170,000 Kia cars were sold in the American market during the same period. In China, Hyundai Motor sold more than 274,600 vehicles and 147,755 in India between January and May 2010.
The Korean auto giant has also garnered many awards abroad including its luxurious model Genesis's winning the 2010 Top Safety Pick and the popular Sonata winning the "$25,000 Family Sedan Shootout."
In June, the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Hyundai Genesis and the Mercedes E class with the top rating for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection.
The Sonata was picked in the "$25,000 Family Sedan Shootout" by a family from California and a panel of auto journalists from USA Today, research site Cars.com and PBS TV show MotorWeek.
Chosen along with Chung were Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally and Volkswagen Automotive Group Chairman Martin Winterkorn.
Mullaly, also the Automotive News' Industry Leader of the Year for 2010, was praised for having "steered the once-struggling automaker into profitable seas this year." Regarding Winterkorn, the weekly said, "He wants to build the bulk of those vehicles on just three flexible architectures and spread sales across brands ranging from exotic Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini to Audi, VW, Porsche, Seat and Skoda."