CALIFORNIA: Hyundai Motors America is searching for an agency to oversee a pounds 300,000-a-year assignment handling West Coast and national corporate PR issues.
The West Coast search is the final piece of a jigsaw being put together by Hyundai director of communications, Chris Hosford.
Last year he began creating a network of PR firms to handle Hyundai projects on a regional basis rather than hiring one national agency.
According to Hosford, the regional set-up is better because he is made aware of local auto-related events he would otherwise not hear about. The network includes firms such as John Bailey & Associates in Detroit and the IAC Group in Miami.
The search has been narrowed to six shops. That group will be trimmed to between two and four finalists, each of which will be asked to handle a PR assignment to test their capabilities. Hosford hopes to have a winner selected by the end of March.
The brief is to handle PR issues specific to the West Coast but also includes work on such national projects as the launch of new Hyundai concept cars.
Hyundai's PR efforts will focus this year on enhancing the brand's image.
Two new models, the Santa Fe SUV and the XG300 full-size Sedan, are designed to do just that by showing that the manufacturer produces more than low-priced, entry-level models.
Hosford said PR for the new models will try to draw new customers into Hyundai showrooms, even if the car market slows this year as many economists are predicting it to.