Usually, we are not big on COTY’s, but this one is too good to pass up. According to lore, which is sometimes parroted in the comments at TTAC, there is mutual hate between Koreans and Japanese. This did not stop Korean journalists from crowning a Japanese car as Korea’s Car of the year: The Toyota Camry. This was so momentous that Toyota Korea president Hisao Nakabayashi broke into tears when the award was presented at a Seoul hotel.
A lot of Hyundai executives would love to see Nakabayashi cry, but they missed it: Hyundai officials went on strike and did boycott the party after they were tipped-off. “We are perplexed. It would been a lot better if a Korean brand won the top prize,” a Hyundai official told the Korea Herald.
Since the Korea Car of the Year award was established by the Korea Automobile Journalist Association in 2010, Hyundai had an exclusive. In 2011, Kia Motors’ K5 took home the top prize, in 2012, it was Hyundai Motor’s i40.
The win of the Camry is also a win for American car exports. Taking advantage of a better won-dollar foreign exchange rate, and a Korea-U.S. free trade pact, Toyota imports all Camry vehicles from America to Korea.
Launched a year ago, the Camry has is the second best selling import in Korea, after the BMW’s 520d.