GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. plans to launch the country’s only rear-wheel drive sports convertible G2X on Sept. 1.
Kia Motors Corp. displayed a concept SUV two years ago in Detroit called the Mesa. Tough, boxy, and bigger than other Kia SUVs, it marked a possible foray into large SUVs for Kia.
It’s no longer just a possibility. Kia’s July 24 sneak peek release of a sketch and a few details of the SUV marked the first official announcement of the production model for the Korean market. The HM is scheduled to hit Korean showrooms in December.
Hatchbacks have never been a big part of the Korean market, but Hyundai Motor Co. decided to put one on the market here anyway with the July 12 launch of the i30 hatchback.
There are more exciting vehicles in the lineup at Hyundai Motor Co. than its big van known as the Grand Starex in Korea and the H-1 overseas.
The only customization these vehicles are likely get around here is a bright yellow paint job and a hagwon’s name and phone number slapped on the sides.
Hyundai Motor Company fell to 12th place in this year’s J.D. Power initial quality rankings.
The annual report, published by California-based marketing information company J.D. Power and Associates, is the leading automotive industry quality survey. The rankings play a significant role in the changing of automakers’ reputations.
For example, last year Hyundai surprised the industry with a sudden leap to number one among large-volume producers. (Porsche and Lexus were ahead of Hyundai but are small-volume brands.) The ranking got the immediate attention of auto critics and has helped Hyundai get favorable Western press coverage ever since.
The U.S.-based automaker Ford Motor Co., along with fellow American company General Motors Corp., has taken a lot of heat for depending too much on SUVs and trucks to meet sales targets. Both companies are hurting, and the general consensus is that they missed an opportunity in the profitable 1990s to develop better cars when they still had extra money from the sales of bigger vehicles.
So it might come across as a little weird that Ford Sales and Service Korea Inc. recently launched a sport utility truck version of its Explorer SUV in Korea, a country traditionally not desirous of big American trucks or SUVs.
Last year Kia Motors Corp. pulled off a bit of a coup when it grabbed Peter Schreyer as the company’s new chief of design. Schreyer made himself famous in the automotive industry as chief designer at Audi. It was Schreyer who set reviewers and enthusiasts aflutter over the much-lauded Audi TT sports coupe, launched in 1998. That’s no easy feat. Auto reviewers are often as fickle and snooty as any haughty fashionista.
He might have come just in time to give Kia the good-looking vehicles it needs.
Vehicles from Korean automakers took four out of ten spots in a ranking of the most toxic interior air quality levels in the American automotive consumer market.
A report by The Ecology Center, a nonprofit organization in Ann Arbor, Michigan, ranked vehicles in all the major vehicle segments on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the level of “most concern.”
But Ssangyong’s Kyron already not doing so well at home: “Don’t ask me such questions because it really annoys me,” says one frustrated dealer before hanging up the phone.
Europe was clearly a priority at the Seoul Motor Show this year.
Of all the vehicles at the show, most of them had already been introduced or were concepts that never will be produced. But there were a few that will be, or already are, for sale in Korea this year, and all of them were made to compete in the European market.
Another round of South Korea-United States free trade talks is set to begin Jan. 15, and again the issue of automobiles will likely be part of the discussions.
American automakers have a problem with Korean tariffs on imported American vehicles. According to Yonhap News, the U.S. levies a 2.5 percent average tariff on imported Korean vehicles, compared to the average 8 percent tariff Korea levies on American imports, including a 25 percent tariff on pickup trucks, the one market segment in which U.S automakers have an edge in their own domestic market.