Hyundai Motor America CEO: U.S. auto industry is viewed as slow and dimwitted

Speaking during his keynote speech at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik said that the U.S. auto industry suffers from poor public perception and must undertake a revolutionary change to pull itself out of that image. He said that the industry must lead the way instead of dwelling over issues of “environment, safety and good business practices.”

“Let’s face it: Our reputation as an industry is horrible. In the U.S., we are viewed for the most part as a slow, dimwitted industry that is typically unresponsive to consumer and environmental needs,” Krafcik said. “If that weren’t bad enough, our executives are criticized for lavish compensation, abundant perks and unnecessary entitlements. We consistently damage our own brand reputations by resorting to costly discounts, rebates and desperate sales tactics to keep our plants running and to cover our fixed costs.”

Krafcik emphasized on ideas such as salary cap for executives and pitched a industry uniform code of conduct regarding compensation, gifts, meals and entertainment, reports Automotive News.

“It’s time we exercised more discipline and more sensitivity in our approach to business. It’s time to say goodbye to the days of overindulgence in auto shows, media launches, gift-giving, employee and dealer rewards, and executive compensation.

He called for a more modest and humble approach and said those are the key values that will help move the U.S. auto industry through these challenging times.