This is an interesting article. We in Pakistan can learn from it.
Hyundai Revs Up
Chairman Chung Mong Koo steers South Korea's largest carmaker away from its checkered past and toward a global success story
BY MICHAEL SCHUMAN | SEOUL
Monday, Apr. 18, 2005
Chung Mong Koo, chairman of South Korea's Hyundai Motor, carefully scrutinizes a newly designed gearshift lever for the automaker's Sonata sedan while his entire senior management team hovers around, anxiously awaiting his approval. The execs are justifiably edgy. Engineers added a plastic plate beneath the shifter to prevent spilled coffee and other flotsam from falling into the mechanism and gumming it up. It's a minor change, but no one is treating it that way, least of all Chung, a hard-nosed, detail-oriented boss with a penchant for micromanagement. ("He still makes the decision on how big a Christmas tree to put in the lobby," quips one former Hyundai executive.) After eyeballing the plastic plate from several angles, Chung demands, "Is this enough?" He's worried that the gizmo won't do its job. Finally, he nods his O.K., but reminds his executives: "We can't allow any defects to damage our cars."
Chung, 67, has spent six years hammering this zero-defects message into the heads of Hyundai's employees—and the result has been one of the most surprising turnabouts in automotive history. A few years ago, Hyundai, South Korea's largest car manufacturer, was a synonym for "shoddy." Seoul was the only place in the world where you were likely to see large numbers of its cars on the street. Today, the company's line of pleasantly stylish, relatively inexpensive and certifiably reliable sedans and sport-utility vehicles is tailgating the industry's best-known brands in several prime markets. In the U.S., where the Sonata offers a lower-priced alternative to Toyota's Camry and Honda's Accord, Hyundai's sales reached 419,000 cars last year—up 360% since 1998. In Europe, sales spurted 21% in 2004. In India, Hyundai's 17% share of the passenger-car market makes it the largest foreign automaker and the second biggest car company overall behind Maruti, a Suzuki subsidiary. Hyundai is beating competitors by modifying its small cars with ingenious features designed for Indian customers, such as elevated rooflines to provide more headroom for turban-wearing motorists.
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