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A HYUNDAI executive with wide overseas market experience has been appointed chief executive officer of the company’s Australian subsidiary, Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA).

The appointment of Jun Heo (pronounced Hur) completes a fresh team at the top of Australia’s third biggest motor company, as he joins recently appointed chief operating officer John Kett who was recruited from General Motors in August to replace Scott Grant who left to become chief operating officer of Cricket Australia.

Currently based in Seoul as head of Hyundai Motor Company’s India and Asia Pacific region, Mr Heo replaces Jung Wook (JW) Lee who is heading back to Hyundai HQ to take up a new international markets role.

Mr Lee had been in charge of the Australian market since 2016. In that time, Hyundai’s sales have mirrored the decline of the Australian market that has been beset by a drought-affected economy, low wage growth and other woes.

Although Hyundai sales have fallen from above 100,000 units a year in 2016 to a projected 90,000 this year, HMCA has maintained a market share above 8.0 per cent.

HMCA’s 8.2 per cent sales decline this year is partly due to the axing of the Accent light car which has been discontinued and is now in run-out. However, the company has gained the Venue small SUV that has already helped to partially take up the slack.

Hyundai is expecting some fresh metal in the shape of the all-new Sonata and a Hyundai i30 update, but it will have to wait until later in 2020 before more meaningful models such as the Palisade arrive to drive some showroom excitement.

New CEO Mr Heo joined Hyundai in 2000 and has since represented the company in the United States, Mexico and India as well as at the headquarters in South Korea.

“I am proud and honoured to join Hyundai Motor Company Australia as chief executive officer,” he said. “For market share, brand history and the popularity of models across the portfolio, Hyundai Australia is seen as one of our company’s most successful markets globally.

“We will continue to play a key role as we develop our organisation as part of HMC’s global strategy.

“I look forward to working with the Australian team as we challenge the market in the future through a dedication to progress, customer care and world-beating products.”

By Ron Hammerton

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