By on January 30, 2013

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.

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20 Comments on “Japan And America Win Korean COTY – Hyundai Fumes...”


  • avatar
    cargogh

    It was a Corolla. I’m surprised he didn’t break into a heart attack. These days that is like a Geo Metro winning.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    @Bertel: You meant to say Camry.

    The Camry is a solid appliance. I’m a H/K fanboy and all that, but the Koreans need to get over themselves.

    • 0 avatar

      But is it car of the year good? I mean really? The Sonata is as solid an appliance as the Camry is. I’m not saying either should’ve been the winners, but I am saying that neither seem so amazingly good that they stand head-and-shoulders above their competition.

    • 0 avatar
      rmswins

      There is a lot of history between the Japanese and Koreans as well as the Japanese and Chinese. Since we Asians are a prideful group, to the point of xenophobia, the issue is more about national identity than which car is more solid. It would be like choosing your neighbor as Father of the Year instead of your own Father.

      Note: I don’t condone xenophobia so I get your point too.

  • avatar
    niky

    Wait… a Corolla beat the Elantra in a COTY? Whowassmokingwhatnow?

  • avatar
    ccode81

    It is believed hyundai is financing their R&D cost by selling large cars with thick margin in home market, while exporting cars at very thin margin to expand market share.
    Toyota and Honda is not caring from making money in Korea, but aiming to let Hyundai cut the domestic MSRP by offering their products at competitive price. Which to squize Hyundai’s cash flow.
    FTA between US and Korea force them to lower tarif and buy as much US products as they exports.
    Together with getting stronger trend KRW, we’ll see this poison pill gets them in trouble.
    With this news, it seems Korean motor journalist are upset of ripped off prices in monopoly market.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    ..and now Toyota has another recall.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    Make no mistake South korea knows qusality

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Weren’t those the people who gave us [the old] Daewoos about ten/eleven years ago? Or were those some kind of cruel joke?

      • 0 avatar
        zeus01

        Yup. Not to mention the old(er) Hyundais of the same era: junk of the same caliber as 70s Fiats and 90s Chryslers. But Hyundai (with a little unwitting help from Toyota) turned the corner and learned how to build decent, durable and dependable cars. Daewoo, not so much. Look no further than the Daewoo-built Chevy Aveo for proof.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well…I must admit that the refreshed Camry is the most attractive Camry to me thus far.

    What they did to it in styling works well – especially since Toyota figured out that they had to do something with the back end and add some horizontal lines so that the people who assemble them can properly affix the Camry and model name designation lettering HORIZONTALLY the way we naturally read, instead of following the curves either downward or upward, which is annoying and unnatural, plus the fact that the type they use isn’t designed to read any other way than straight!

    That certainly earns it KCOTY for me – just don’t get one with the V6, otherwise there may be trouble, as a neighbor will attest to.

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    Maybe if Hyundai’s cars had more sleekness to the body and were grounded to the ground a little better.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    A 520d you say?

  • avatar
    mistercopacetic

    I think the big winner here is America, in that our workers build the Camry, a “Japanese” car, which is imported to Korea, to win an award as the Korean Car of the Year. U-S-A! U-S-A!

  • avatar
    hriehl1

    Methinks this is little more than Korean journalists sending Korean manufacturers a little message.

    Complacency and a sense of entitlement is a sure road to mediocrity.

  • avatar
    hifi

    This says more about amateurish Korean journalists than the virtues of Toyota. I’m certainly not saying Hyundai/Kia is more deserving, but for a Corolla or Camry to be named the car of the year is an absolute joke.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Yeah Yeah, screw Toyota, they suck, they’re bland, blah blah…..
    It’s funny, but every person I know that bought a Korean car/SUV because of style/price/great deal etc – well, after a couple years they hate it. The best story I heard the other day was my wife’s friend that bought a small SUV (sorry, forgot exact model) and the plan was to give to her son when he turns 16, boy said hell no, I’d rather walk than drive that thing. She hates it too, so does her husband!


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