Hyundai Motor America’s World Marketing Group is talking to three media auditors about its $400 million combined Hyundai/Kia media planning and buying business, recently awarded to Carat North America – or so unattributed ‘sources’ say.

The WMG was formed in February specifically to keep tabs on Carat’s handling of the massive account [WAMN: 26-Feb-02], although a Hyundai spokesperson denied knowledge of any search for an external auditor. Such an appointment, common in Europe, is relatively unknown stateside.

However, Hyundai did concede: “Carat has said it can produce certain benefits over our previous media buying agency, and we want to monitor that to see if the benefits exist.”

But experts believe this presents difficulties for Hyundai. “Media buying has become so complicated, it really can't be checked independently by most clients,” opined Charles Courtier, chief executive of Mediaedge:cia.

Meantime, the ‘sources’ were very specific. They named four specialist media audit firms said to be pitching for the assignment: Advantage Media of Lakewood, Colorado; San Francisco-based Hawk Media; Denver’s MediaAnalysis Plus and Media Management in St. Louis. None of the quartet – nor Carat – were prepared to comment on the rumor.

Data sourced from: (USA); additional content by WARC staff