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Probe Hurting Hyundai’s Global Image

Posted April. 11, 2006 08:54,   


As the investigation into Hyundai-Kia Motors expands, foreign media outlets are picking up the story, and its negative connotations.

The Wall Street Journal reported in a front page headline of its Asian edition on April 10 that the investigation has overshadowed Hyundai Motor’s global growth strategy.

The newspaper predicted that the summoning of Hyundai Automotive Group chairman Chung Mong-koo and his son may have derailed the group’s global expansion plans.

The Wall Street Journal added that the exact date of Kia Motors’ ground-breaking ceremony in Georgia, scheduled for May 26, is now uncertain, and that the company’s image abroad has been tarnished.

The newspaper judged that Chairman Chung, who has run Hyundai Motor since 1998, put top priority on quality management, improved quality, and transformed Hyundai Motor into a “global power” by expanding its global markets into China, India, and Eastern Europe.

However, it criticized his arbitrary management style.

The newspaper said that Chung goes to his office at 6:30 a.m. and wants other executives to do the same as well, and it raised questions about its management structure, saying that Hyundai Motor’s affiliates maintain their management rights by retaining mutual stocks.

The Wall Street Journal explained the current situation of the investigation into Hyundai Motor; in the March 31 edition it says that its damaged image is inevitable and in the March 30 edition, states that the investigation raises questions about Hyundai Motor’s accounts principles and its management structure, which will affect its image.

Other foreign newspapers also reported on the investigation into Hyundai Motor as main stories.

The UK’s Financial Times said in the March 27 edition right after the seizure and search that the investigation is expected to have an impact on the Hyundai Automotive Group and Korea’s political circles.

The U.S.’ Washington Post and New York Times also reported in their March 29 editions about the prosecutors’ summoning and investigating of Hyundai Motor president Chae Yang-gi in detail.

Sung-Won Joo Hyo-Lim Son swon@donga.com aryssong@donga.com