ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an interview with NADAFrontPage.com, John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, discusses what he values most about attending the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo, working with dealers to improve customer satisfaction and enhancing its brand image. Krafcik will deliver an industry keynote address at the NADA convention in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Feb. 9.
1) What do you enjoy most about attending the NADA convention? What do you see as the most important take-away for OEM executives after attending the NADA convention?
The conversation with the dealers is what I look forward to most at NADA. At Hyundai, we pride ourselves on staying close to the consumer. We want to provide consumers with a product and continuing service that meets and exceeds their expectations. The most important takeaway for me is to hear directly from the dealers about the feedback they're getting from consumers in their showrooms. We talk with our dealers on a regular basis through phone and video conference calls, but there's still no substitute for that direct interaction with dealers at NADA.
2) What can you say about your dealer network as your sales curve goes up? Are you expanding your dealer network?
We're satisfied with our dealer body, which currently stands at 820 nationwide. Instead of focusing on growth, we've worked with our dealers to improve customer satisfaction, and enhance the brand image through strategic facility improvements. For example, we made customer satisfaction the most important metric in our dealer rewards program and more than 340 dealers completed renovations to their dealerships, resulting in a visibly stronger and more cohesive branding across our facilities.
3) It seems like the focus on vehicle design has never been greater. Do you agree?
I completely agree. We have entered an era where design is more important than ever. Hyundai, for example, has dramatically reshaped the look of its entire lineup in the past few years in a design philosophy we call "Fluidic Sculpture," and it's been a key part of our growth. We're giving consumers outstanding features, quality and performance in our products, but it all has to be wrapped in a great package to win in the marketplace.
4) As the industry keynote speaker at NADA 2013, what are you hoping to convey to a diverse audience of both domestic and international brand dealers?
As an industry, we are most successful when we reconnect with the entrepreneurial spirit that inspires innovation. Large global automakers can lose sight of that. At Hyundai, our success is rooted in challenging convention and not accepting the status quo. Where the dealer franchise model really benefits large automakers is that it surrounds us with entrepreneurial thinking. Dealers are exceptional at finding efficiency, elevating customer service and improving the sales process, and you push OEMs to do the same. Sometimes this creates tension, but it also sparks innovation, and that's what drives our long-term success.
5) Where does Hyundai see itself in the luxury car market?
At Hyundai, we've been very successful attracting new buyers to our brand with premium vehicles like Equus and Genesis. While other luxury brands are investing in granite floors and artwork to improve the showroom, Hyundai is approaching the luxury market with a different strategy – saving owners' time, their most valuable resource. We've found we can be successful selling premium cars under the Hyundai logo at an attractive price point by offering convenient sales and service options like Your Time, Your Place sales valet that literally brings the vehicle to the prospective buyer for a test drive, and At Your Service, which provides a pick-up and drop-off service for your car when it needs to come in for maintenance. For us, premium is not about putting the owner at the front of the line, it's about eliminating the line altogether. This approach to luxury is having a halo effect for all our buyers, elevating the sales and ownership experience from Equus to Accent.
The full lineup of keynote speakers include NADA Chairman Bill Underriner; inspirational speaker Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords; incoming NADA Chairman David Westcott; and former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. The NADA convention runs Feb. 8-11 at the Orange County Convention Center. For more information, visit www.nadaconventionandexpo.org.
The NADA Story
The NADA story began in 1917 when 30 auto dealers traveled to the nation's capital to convince Congress not to impose a luxury tax on the automobile. They successfully argued that the automobile is a necessity of American life, not a luxury. From that experience was born the National Automobile Dealers Association. Today, NADA represents nearly 16,000 new-car and -truck dealers, with 32,500 franchises, both domestic and international. For more information, visit www.nada.org. Follow NADA on Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE National Automobile Dealers Association