Hyundai Motor America President and Chief Executive John Krafcik will step down at the end of his contract on Dec. 31, making way for successor David Zuchowski to take over both posts effective Jan. 1.
Zuchowski joined Hyundai Motor America in February 2007 and currently serves as executive vice president of sales.
"We sincerely thank John for his visionary leadership and relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction, which has driven Hyundai's record growth over the past five years," said Im Tak Uk, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor Co.
The company described Zuchowski as a 33-year veteran of the automotive industry. Zuchowski previously served with Mazda North America as vice president of sales and field operations.
Zuchowski began his automotive career in 1980 at Ford Motor Co., where he was a regional manager, product marketing manager, national merchandising manager and field operations manager for the Ford and Lincoln Mercury division.
"I am both humbled and excited to lead Hyundai Motor America into the next chapter by continuing to build on John's great legacy," Zuchowski said in a statement.
Zuchowski added that he intended to focus on "what matters most — building the highest quality, safest and most diverse fleet of models that customers love."
Hyundai Motor America is headquartered in Costa Mesa and is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea.
News of the management change came on the heels of the announcement that Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America have reached a $400-million settlement in class-action litigation over inflated fuel-economy claims for their vehicles.
Hyundai will offer the owners of the models with the overstated ratings a lump-sum payment that will average $353. The payment varies depending on whether the vehicle was bought or leased. Kia's average payment will be $667.
The settlement covers about 600,000 Hyundai vehicles and about 300,000 from Kia.
A federal court in Los Angeles is expected to review the proposed settlement in early 2014. Later, owners of the affected vehicles will be sent notices informing them of the payments and their options.