Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee

Vice Chairman, Kia

First and foremost, we would like to congratulate you on KIA Motors’ first entry to Interbrand’s Best Global Brands ranking. Now, as a vice chairman of KIA, what would you define as the key drivers for KIA’s outstanding growth?

Thank you. I must say, we are very pleased to enter Interbrand’s BGB top 100. Among all the efforts that have been made, I credit our mid to long-term growth plan, ”Vision 2012,” for our success. We have focused on achieving our plan step by step, and our goals included specific, measurable figures. For example, “achieve more than 2.5 million sales,” “meet 8% of operating profit to sales ratio,”, and “dominate 30% of the market share in the domestic market” by 2012. With a belief that we should focus more on improving KIA’s brand identity, we also set a goal to achieve 36 billion USD brand value by 2012. Moreover, we shifted our business paradigm to “design management” and made sure all of KIA’s business segments shared the same vision and larger goals. As part of that change, we named Peter Schreyer as our chief designer and started to introduce unique and distinctive products to the global market. Through these measures, we have successfully achieved our vision for 2012, and I believe that our enthusiasm and commitment to our goals has led us to become one of the best 100 brands in the world.

Could you elaborate on the top priority goal for KIA Motors in the long term?

“Vision 2012” was our primary goal, of course, and we are in the middle of establishing our second goal this year, “Vision 2016,” under the slogan “value innovation.” We are planning to deliver differentiated values to our customers and, when 2016 arrives, I hope that we have achieved 55 billion dollars worth of brand value. All business departments are working together toward this common mission. I believe that we are on the right track and feel very positive about our ability to achieve our goals.

As you know, the market is getting very competitive, especially in the automotive sector. What are the strengths of the KIA Motors brand and how does KIA differentiate itself from competitors?

KIA delivers very unique and distinctive values to our customers such as attractive design, a high quality product and price performance. We will continuously promote these benefits to our customers in the future.

In the current climate, people are concerned about the social responsibility of companies. Is KIA involved in any activities related to corporate responsibility?

A. As a part of the ‘Vision 2016’ plan, social responsibility is one of our main interests in business management. It is very important that we meet our consumers’ and stakeholders’ high standards regarding corporate credibility, and, as a manufacturer, eco-friendly management is also a core part of our strategy. For example, we have developed a comprehensive management system of our products during their life cycles to minimize harmful impacts on the environment. We also received environment-friendly certificates from TUV Nord, an independent technical inspection organization, in recognition of the outstanding eco-friendly attributes of three of our newest models, including Ceed. Regarding CSR activities, we have just launched “Green Light Project,” a social mobility program that will improve access to health and education for disadvantaged youth. With the cooperation of our global network, our first project took place in Tanzania where we built a new school and provided new vehicles to the residents. We have more plans to light up other countries and regions with the Green Light Project.

  • About Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee

    Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee was promoted to Vice Chairman of Kia Motors Corporation in September 2010 from his previous position as President in charge of the company's international business operations which he had held since August 2009. In his new role, Mr. Lee became the highest ranking Kia Motors global executive and oversees the company's international and domestic business including sales, marketing and after sales service; global corporate planning and production; as well as labor-management relations.

    A member of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group since 1977, Mr. Lee also held the position of Senior Executive Vice President and COO of the International Business Division, President of Kia Motors Europe and President and CEO of Dongfeng Yueda Kia, the company's joint venture in China. While in Europe, he focused on increasing brand awareness among socially-conscious and style-focused European consumers while overseeing the introduction of the cee'd family line-up in the region with tremendous success.

    Mr. Lee led Kia Motors through the ongoing global economic recession during which the company posted among the industry's highest sales growth with expanding market share in nearly all countries in which the company operates. Mr. Lee’s vast experience in the auto industry on several continents, as well as his flexible and forward thinking management style, continues to guide Kia’s success.