Hyundai Motor America Hires Automotive Industry Veteran Brian Smith as COO

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 23 2017 – To further strengthen its executive leadership team, Hyundai Motor America named Brian Smith its Chief Operating Officer (COO). Effective October 25, Smith, 58, reports to Hyundai Motor America president and CEO, Kenny Lee, and will be responsible for all aspects of Hyundai’s U.S. operations, including its corporate and product strategic direction, sales, marketing, customer satisfaction and dealer development.

“Brian Smith’s long track record of success in empowering organizations, driving change in future retailing and exceeding expectations makes him the right person to help lead Hyundai and prepare us for the continued evolution of the auto industry,” said Kenny Lee, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “I look forward to working with Brian to energize Hyundai’s U.S. momentum and sales growth. We are focused on a strong close to the year and preparations for several important new product introductions in 2018 starting with Kona, along with the national rollout of Shopper Assurance, our approach to a better retail experience.”

Smith joins Hyundai after more than 30 years with Toyota and Lexus with experience in sales, marketing, dealer development and regional operations. During his successful career at the automaker he held numerous leadership positions, most recently as the vice president of retail transformation for Toyota USA. Previous positions at Lexus included the vice president of marketing and prior to that, the vice president of sales and dealer development. He also had responsibility for Toyota sales, truck marketing, field operations and special events throughout his career.

“I’ve always admired Hyundai’s challenger mindset, its hardworking and dedicated culture, and the speed in which it operates,” Smith said. “There is tremendous opportunity ahead and I’m excited for the challenge and to be joining this dynamic team.”

Smith holds a degree in psychology from the University of Southern California. In his personal time he is an avid cyclist, an aerobatic pilot and enjoys several recreational sports activities.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 830 dealerships nationwide. All new Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes a 5-year/60,000-mile fully-transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

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