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CEO of Hyundai’s North America operations resigns

John Krafcik, the president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, is stepping down next week after five years at the helm, the company announced Friday. He will be replaced by David Zuchowski, the current executive vice president of sales who joined the company in February 2007.

When Krafcik became CEO of American operations in 2008, the South Korean automaker’s cars were ugly and often broke down. During his tenure, he pushed through quality, style, and fuel efficiency improvements to help drive up sales. Hyundai Sonata midsize cars and Elantra compacts became top sellers, and multiple models garnered the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick designation.

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While the company’s cars found success, Krafcik has faced serious challenges in the latter years of his tenure.

Last year, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s determined that Hyundai and Kia overstated gas mileage claims on window stickers of 900,000 vehicles in the past three years.

And the automaker has had trouble in the last couple of years keeping up with demand.

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