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COVER STORY
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John Krafcik

President and CEO – Hyundai Motor America, Costa Mesa

OC METRO's Hot 25 for 2011Published: November 01, 2011

Hot Factor: John Krafcik’s Hyundai Motor America reached a milestone in July, selling its 100,000th 40 mpg/highway vehicle, outselling all other automakers’ 40 mpg models.

Jay Leno once quipped that if you fill up the tank of a Hyundai, you’ve doubled its value. But nobody is laughing about that these days, because it’s far from true. Hyundai president and CEO, John Krafcik, has led his company to compete with the big names in motoring. This summer, Hyundai reached a milestone, selling its 100,000th vehicle that gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Hyundai smoked the entire auto industry, outselling all other automakers’ 40 mpg offerings. And last year, for the first time, Hyundai made Kelley Blue Book’s list of top five brands for buyers.
   
A mechanical engineer by training, Krafcik worked his way up to a job at the Ford Motor Co. developing new vehicle systems. He joined Hyundai in Orange County in 2004 and became CEO in 2008. His marketing ideas have grabbed national attention. For example, he offered to buy back the vehicle from any Hyundai owner who lost his or her job.    
   
Krafcik, who admits that he caught the car bug at a young age, is a Stanford graduate who went on to get a master’s degree in management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He’s a long distance runner but admits that he likes speed when it comes to cars. He recently told USA Today: “We need to stay hungry and never be complacent.” You can find him on YouTube talking about the future: cars rated at 50 mpg.
   
“We don’t know in detail how to get there,” he says, “but we have an awful lot of confidence we’ll find a way to get 
it done.”

Editor’s Note: To see who made our “Hot 25” lists in prior years, visit our Archives page.
   
And, we’re now on the hunt for exceptional women who are impacting O.C. If you know someone who deserves to be on our 20 Women to Watch list, please let us know at our Nominate page.