Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-Koo was at the groundbreaking then grand opening of Hyundai here in Montgomery. County Commissioner Todd Strange says, "He is very engaging and demanding."
Strange was instrumental in bringing Hyundai to Montgomery. Strange says if Chung is arrested, he expects Hyundai to lose some focus, but doesn't anticipate it affecting the Montgomery plant and its suppliers. He says, "I feel very good about that simply because the senior leadership of Hyundai U.S. is in place."
"What's going on at the top of a corporation doesn't necessarily affect operations here into the states," adds Anna Buckalew with the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce.
Buckalew also believes Montgomery won't see an impact. But, one industry report said the controversy is affecting Hyundai's sales. "We just have to wait and see what is happening and what the impact on the company will be. Of course we are interested in it and following it very closely. But, we just don't see that it's going to impact Montgomery, Alabama," says Buckalew.
Another concern is the Kia plant in West Point, Georgia. Local officials are hoping Hyundai suppliers in our area will benefit by supporting Kia production. But now, the future for Kia and other Hyundai productions is uncertain. Buckalew says, "Until we know there is an announcement; until we know there is dirt turning on that site, I just say we are enjoying 8,500 jobs as a result of Hyundai and those suppliers."
Hyundai spokeswoman Kathy Johnson also told WSFA 12 News that work on the Montgomery site is continuing as usual and that the company does not expect that to change. Johnson says the company continues to turn out cars on schedule regardless of what is happening in Korea.
There are some signs the controversy is hurting Hyundai. The company recently cut its sales targets for both the U.S. and Europe by more than three percent. The company claimed sales are slowing because of the investigation and a stronger Korean currency.