Hyundai West Coast search puts last piece of PR jigsaw into place

FOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Hyundai Motor America is searching for a firm to oversee a dollars 500,000-a-year assignment handling West Coast and national corporate PR issues.

FOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Hyundai Motor America is searching for a firm to oversee a dollars 500,000-a-year assignment handling West Coast and national corporate PR issues.

FOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Hyundai Motor America is searching for a firm to oversee a dollars 500,000-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 Chris Hosford, Hyundai director of communications. 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 setup 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.

Though he refused to comment on the size of the West Coast or national corporate accounts, Hosford acknowledged using LA-based search firm Jerry Swerling & Associates to find the new PR agency. The search has been narrowed to six shops. That group will be trimmed to between two and four finalists, who each 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 agency he's searching for now will handle PR issues specific to the West Coast and will work on such national projects as the launch of new Hyundai concept cars. Hosford wants an agency either based on the West Coast or with a significant California presence that is willing to put together an account team of two to five people.

Hyundai's PR efforts this year will focus 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 automaker 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.





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