How can Hyundai India be held accountable or responsible for Hyundai Pakistan?
Following the outrage in India after Hyundai Pakistan tweeted in support of Kashmir Day, Hyundai India has issued two apologies to the nation distancing itself from the controversy. Indeed like rest of my countrymen I got carried away by the Hyundai insensitivity. But then my engineering boss (my hubby) explained to me how any two (or more) franchisees of the same multinational company based in two (or more) different countries, may have nothing to do with in common and how they are far detached, and function as two (or more) entirely different entities having been incorporated as per the local laws of the host countries. The only connection between the two different arms in India and Pakistan in this case could be the parent company who may pass on to them technology or the assembly line. In India’s case, production is undertaken in Hyundai plants and Hyundai India also has captured an export market. Hyundai India has nothing to do with Hyundai Pakistan therefore. Moreover, social media may be handled by independent agencies for the companies. Hyundai factory is in Tamil Nadu, located very close to Chennai, at Sriperumbudur. For over 25 years, Hyundai has had a quiet and steady growth in India. They procure their spare parts from small scale Indian industrialists, and they provide employment to locals. I have friends who worked for the company. They are pretty decent. Never have the south Korean expats or the company voiced an opinion on Indian politics or economics or culture as our Indian govt and media may note. Fellow Indian citizens also must take note of this crucial fact which is vital to arrive at any judgment. Hyundai Pakistan may have deliberately incited the disturbance. We Indians come out with typical kneejerk reaction for everything. Pakistan is still a banana republic whose annual GDP falls short of one day trading volume at BSE in India. Hyundai Pakistan sells a reported 8000 assembled cars a year as against 800,000 plus Hyundai sedans sold in India mostly entirely manufactured locally. This must speak about the capacity of both the companies and the economies. Hyundai HQ in Seoul must have been unaware of the developments. In truth, they may not even be aware of ground reality or political equations in the subcontinent. Hyundai India has still come out with two back-to-back apologies and that must do. In fact as I see, there is no reason for them to apologize at all. Lever India, Nestle India, Pepsi India etc., have similarly no connection to their counterparts be it in Pakistan or in another country in the world. MNCs or Companies incorporated in India are mostly public listed companies with stakes even held by retail investors. Some like Hyundai, Honda etc., may be privately held. The scene we have in India is completely different from what they have in Pakistan. However, the backlash Hyundai has received in India must be an eyeopener for global companies that want to do business with India. This is why Narendra Modi matters!
And how the floodgates opened!
Why this apology may be important: Hyundai India, KFC, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Honda know of the ease of doing business in India as against a lawless country like Pakistan. Who is lining their pockets. Most of us NRIs do comprehend the dynamics of running-managing an MNC in different parts of the world. It is just next to impossible to do business without conflict of interests. The treading ground is treacherous. So sometimes, mistakes happen. In this case, what originated from Pakistan seems to be a well planned and coordinated INTELLIGENCE exercise, coercing the MNCs to issue statements in unison, not keeping with their policies. Very cheap stunt. Well, that has bombed in their own backyard now, so fellow Indians relax! What Pak would not have factored in must be this spontaneous Indian solidarity that made the MNCs in India buck down and issue apologies. Yet, admittedly it is a recurring practice that only Indian/Hindu sentiments are most disregarded. India is taken for granted by the MNCs who will never dare to repeat the chapter with China or Pakistan.
I opt to give the benefit of doubt to Hyundai India. I trust and keep my faith in them. Let us not judge them with one incident or rather one motor accident! They have a proven track record in India which is good. The Indian market for them is too precious to lose. It has been built for a quarter century with the goodwill of both the nations.
Once the dust settles on Hyundai matter, hopefully our PM Shri Narendra Modi ji will turn his govt attention to Netflix and Amazon Prime, the OTT platforms that India can do without.