SEOUL, AJU - Jose Munoz, a former Nissan Motor executive, has joined Hyundai Motor as global chief operating officer in charge of North America as the South Korean car company strives to seek a turnaround in its poor performance at the most important market.
Munoz, a 53-year-old native of Spain, joined Nissan in 2004 as general manager in Europe and left as chief performance officer earlier this year when Renault chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn resigned. While out on bail, Ghosn was re-arrested in Tokyo in April over new charges of misappropriations of Nissan funds.
Hyundai said in a statement on Friday that Munoz would oversee global operations strategies and their implementation, with his focus on delivering profitable growth and improving overall performance. Based in Fountain Valley, California, he would start his duty from May 1 as President and CEO of Hyundai’s North America and America operations.
“Jose Munoz has an impressive track record and is proven to be a visionary and motivational leader who is adept at all aspects of our business,” Hyundai Motor president Lee Won-hee was quoted as saying. “His decades of automotive and technology experience make him well suited for this new role as we move the company to the next step.”
“My capabilities around delivering steady profitable growth, managing the entire supply chain, and working together with our dealer partners to find win-win solutions match up well with the opportunity here,” Munoz said.
This year, the Hyundai auto group presented a modest target as sales last year were slower than expected. The group has set this year’s combined sales target at 7.6 million units -- 4.68 million by Hyundai Motor and 2.92 million by its affiliate Kia Motors. Total sales for 2018 were estimated at about 7.4 million, which fell short of the initial target of 7.55 million.