Hyundai de Puerto Rico ushers in new president, redesigned Accent ’18
Automaker Hyundai de Puerto Rico announced the arrival of a new CEO for its brand in Puerto Rico, Tatsuo Takahashi, who takes over the reins of the operation as new and redesigned vehicles are introduced into the lineup.
Takahashi succeeds Hitoshi Kaneko, who spent four years at the head of Hyundai de Puerto Rico, which includes the island and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and now moves on to “new professional challenges.”
“I am very pleased with the work done during these years, which would not have been possible without the valuable team that I had to manage and the support of our dealers and other business partners,” said Kaneko, who arrived to Puerto Rico in April 2015.
Last year, Hyundai de Puerto Rico had reached a 13.2 percent market share in Puerto Rico, which Kaneko said Takahashi will likely drive to higher levels during his tenure.
“Puerto Rico is going through times of great challenges, which in turn have represented strategic opportunities for our local team,” Takahashi said.
“The work we have been doing has led us to an incomparable growth spiral in the local car industry and I cannot be more than excited to get to the island to continue with that development and make Hyundai the most beloved brand among local consumers,” he said.
Takahashi has a professional track record of more 30 years, and has a degree in engineering from Keio University in Tokyo, Japan. He got his start in the automotive industry in the financial area and later became an executive of several brands of recognized worldwide.
Takahashi was assigned to several countries in Asia, such as Thailand, where he reached the position of executive vice president and chief financial officer for Hyundai Motor Thailand Co., Ltd.
His assignment as the new leader in charge of Hyundai of Puerto Rico comes hand-in-hand with launches that the brand has in the pipeline for these coming years, including the Genesis brand as an independent luxury division and that has already caused great expectations in various markets around of the world.
Redesigned Hyundai Accent ’18 hits island roads
During an event to present Takahashi, Hyundai de Puerto Rico also announced the arrival of the new Accent 2018, which joins the other models of the brand that have been reinvented under a new philosophy of design, technology and safety.
The Accent, the fifth generation of the compact sedan, now has a more sophisticated appearance, with a cascaded front grille that is already part of the Hyundai identity. Compared to the previous version, the Accent 2018 is longer and wider to provide a more spacious and comfortable cabin.
Four versions will be available — GL manual and automatic transmission, GL Alloy and Limited — priced starting at $17,395, all with a 1.6l 4-cylinder engine and 130 horsepower.
The company expects to sell some 300 units a month in Puerto Rico, Pablo Martínez, COO of the brand in Puerto Rico, said.
The new Accent is the second vehicle in as many months that Hyundai has unveiled as part of its local fleet of models. In March, the automaker unveiled the new Hyundai Kona crossover.