Former Hyundai CEO Krafcik Gets Interesting New Role
According to an announcement from TrueCar.com, "TrueCar, the negotiation-free car buying platform, today announced John Krafcik, former Hyundai Motor America President and CEO, has been named to TrueCar's board of directors. Krafcik, who led Hyundai to record sales and boosted the automaker's U.S. market share by more than 50 percent during his five-year (2008-2013) tenure, will join as director and also serve as a member of the board's operating committee."
Krafcik told the Wall Street Journal that "his role at TrueCar, based in Santa Monica, Calif., won’t be his only job, he said. 'I left on great terms with Hyundai. I still call them and they call me.' During the past three months, he said he has been doing consulting in Silicon Valley, China and other locations. 'It’s helped me understand what I might want to do, full, full time. I am just taking things at the appropriate pace,' he said."
The personable Krafcik joins a website in transition. According to the Journal, "TrueCar has had a renaissance since going through a crisis in 2012. The service was growing quickly, selling the notion to buyers that they could get the lowest price possible for cars. It tracks purchases of vehicles and shows consumers what the highest and lowest price people paid for a car in their area.
"Dealers began to complain that consumers were demanding prices that were so low they couldn’t make money and the company lost thousands of customers, and even drew attention from some state regulators saying the service violated consumer protection laws. The company was losing money and needed a cash infusion from investors to survive."
A major cash infusion just came to the company via Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Capital. According to the Journal, it made a $30 million investment in the company late last year and TrueCar is said to be considering an initial public offering this year.
No details on compensation were announced but joining a company before it goes public could significantly fatten Krafcik's wallet. The role also keeps him in front of the auto industry and gives him extensive dealer contacts much greater than in his role with Hyundai.
One automotive journalist suggested Krafcik could be tapped to head up Alfa Romeo's efforts in the U.S. It's also been suggested he could oversee Chrysler's U.S. operations so Sergio Marchione wouldn't have to run companies on two continents.