Blog: Dave LeggettHyundai's Mr Chung: rough with the smooth?

Dave Leggett | 26 May 2006

Hyundai Motor’s Chung Mong-koo may currently be languishing in a Korean detention facility and facing some pretty hefty corruption charges, but as HM’s boss since 1999, he successfully masterminded the company’s expansion into the US and European markets.

I guess he could probably pen a corking ‘best of times and worst of times’ article like the sort you read in the Sunday newspaper supplements.

But it’s business-as-usual for Hyundai and its Kia division - on the surface anyway. Last week, at the Madrid Show, Kia unveiled its new Carens compact MPV. I never liked that name, but the new vehicle looks like a significant improvement on its predecessor and it’s sure to be very competitively priced.

Early next year Hyundai should start production of its Cee’d (seed for growth - clever huh?) in Slovakia. HM is certainly on a roll, although I can’t help but wonder about a company whose main man may have siphoned off so much cash for himself (that said, this is Korea we're talking about).

Will HM’s global expansion be seriously checked? Will the company’s image be irredeemably tarnished? Will buyers of cars like the Kia Carens know or care about Mr Chung? The answer to all three questions is ‘probably not’, at least not if the situation is resolved soon. But it’s the ‘probably’ that will be keeping some Hyundai execs awake at night. Messy business.

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SOUTH KOREA: Hyundai Czech plant put on hold as chairman indicted

SOUTH KOREA: Kia postpones construction of Georgia, US plant

SPAIN: Kia Carens makes global debut at Madrid Motor Show


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