When Tony Whitehorn joined Hyundai Motor UK as CEO and President in 2005, he saw huge potential for the future growth of the business. At the time, it was ranked 23rd in the marketplace, and was selling approximately 28,000 vehicles per year. “It was a sleeping giant but it had enormous global presence,” Tony says. “I saw that this global presence and the enormity of the company could be translated into the UK car market and that it could really become something great.”
Tony came from being the UK Operations Director for Toyota, so moving over to Hyundai was a big change in terms of scale. “When I came over to Hyundai, I saw a massive opportunity and during the last 10 years we have realised that opportunity, we moved from being twenty third to being in the top 10 of the marketplace. We have been the fastest growing car manufacturer in that period of time throughout the whole of the UK. I think I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.”
Over the past decade, Tony and his team have been driving the strength of the Hyundai product as a way to give the brand depth and longevity in the market.
“For me, that was the most important thing,” he says. “Then from that, I had to re-orientate the culture and structure of the company. When I first arrived here, it was very different to what it is now. I had to look at the plans for the next five years and try and set up a culture and a structure that would enable us, and our dealer network, to make this all a reality. Because if the product moved, then the brand also had to move.”