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Thursday, Jan 07, 2010
The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

Japanese automakers see Hyundai Motor as a global threat with the Korean company's rapid sales and production growth, its focus on high quality and aggressive decision making power, Fortune magazine reported in its recent edition.

The success story of Hyundai Motor in the global market was featured in a 10-page cover article in the global business magazine's Jan. 18 edition, which described it as "the toughest car company of them all."

In the report, Fortune said the Korean automaker has shown the fastest growth in the world and particularly it is now threatening Japanese competitors.

"Toyota used to say that Hyundai was the company it feared most. Today those fears have grown into a nightmare," the magazine said.

It also pointed out Hyundai has proven its ability by making an early debut of the new Sonata model in the North American market, while others struggle with production schedules, rising costs and an erratic parts supply.

"These days Hyundai could get ticketed for exceeding the limit," it said.

The business magazine focused on the chairman's management philosophy.

It said Hyundai Motor's chairman Chung Mong-koo has switched the focus of the company from volume to high quality after he took over the company from his father in 1999.

Technology-based management strategy and continuous investment by the chairman have contributed to Hyundai's rise. "The Korean carmaker is speeding to the head of the pack with a focus on quality and a push into the luxury-car game," it said.

Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Motor saw sales increase in the U.S. market, while other American and Japanese competitors struggled due to recession. According to the companies, Hyundai sold 435,064 vehicles last year, an 8.3 percent increase from a year earlier. Kia's American market share grew 4.2 percent with a 9.8 percent sales increase to 300,063 vehicles last year.

The strong performance of Korean cars in the U.S. market was possible thanks to their enhanced brand image, boosted by Hyundai's Genesis Sedans, Hyundai assurance programs that provide trade-in bonuses, and a gas price protection program, the company said. The company's first luxury sports sedan, Genesis, which grabbed the attention of foreign auto industry publications, won a number of awards in North America last year.

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