THE NUMBERS: U.S. market share jumped to 4.4% in the first nine months of 2009 from 3.1% in the same year-ago period. And in September, while the industry suffered a 22% sales drop in a post-Clunkers hangover, Hyundai increased its new-vehicle tally by 27% to 31,511 units. Measured-media spending for the first half of 2009 dropped 2.7% to $238 million. Full-year 2008 measured spending was $571 million.
THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Chris Perry, senior manager-national marketing communications and Chris Hosford, VP-corporate communications.
THE CHALLENGE: The marketer's move upmarket isn't assured, as it will have to persuade Americans to plunk down a projected $60,000 for its priciest model, the Equus full-size luxury sedan, when it arrives next summer. Not all Hyundai touches have turned to gold. The 2009 model year was the last for the Entourage minivan -- which just arrived in 2007 -- due to slow sales.
THE AGENCIES: Hyundai moved its media account to Interpublic 's Initiative early this year after a review. In the spring, Hyundai moved its national creative account without a pitch from Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to Innocean Worldwide Americas, the Irvine, Calif., office of the automaker's in-house global agency subsidiary. Innocean oversees U.S. media planning, buying, promotions, research, media auditing and accountability services.