Category: Korea

By on May 22, 2017

hyundai-kona-teaser

Hyundai, which found itself lagging behind its rivals in the lucrative crossover and SUV market and figured it should do something about it, is having trouble getting its desperately needed subcompact crossover into production.

The 2018 Kona, which we’ve so far seen only a portion of, is part of a better-late-than-never product push by the Korean automaker. A new small crossover was needed to to mine a growing segment and boost Hyundai’s flagging U.S. sales, but the reality of building cars in Korea has thrown up a roadblock. Read More >

By on May 16, 2017

2016 Hyundai Sonata, Image: Hyundai Motor America

He lost his job for it, but Kim Gwang-ho, a 25-year Hyundai veteran at the automaker’s Seoul, South Korea facility, knew he needed to speak out.

The engineer blew the whistle on his employer, reporting the automaker to both South Korean and American officials after uncovering evidence Hyundai was covering up a defect in several of its models. Kim even published internal documents to back up his claim.

Kim, 55, was fired from his job, but authorities took note. As a result, a further 240,000 vehicles — totaling 12 models — have been added to a recall already 1.4 million strong. Read More >

By on March 23, 2017

Hyundai Logo. Picture courtesy of autoblog.com

Hyundai Motor Group has received added attention from investors this week over expectations that the family-run business could undergo a major reorganization into a public holding, with the same separate, multifaceted structure as Hyundai Heavy Industries.

News spread that Hyundai Motor could be preparing a restructuring campaign after it issued a disclosure statement last Friday that explained it would be charging Hyundai Steel and Hyundai Glovis Co. 13.9 billion won ($12.4 million) for the use of the Hyundai brand name. This is the first time the company has ever collected from either over the use of its corporate trademark.  Read More >

By on March 23, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

General Motors began taking pre-orders in South Korea last week for the all-electric Bolt. In under two hours, the entirety of the first shipment was spoken for. By the end of that day, March 17, more than 2,000 additional orders had been placed, proving — once again — that GM is killing it in Asia and Koreans are tech-obsessed.

Incredibly, most of those customers hadn’t even laid eyes on the vehicle. The Bolt doesn’t make its official Korean debut until March 30th, when it will appear at the 2017 Seoul Motor Show.  Read More >

By on January 8, 2017

2018 Kia Stinger

Kia uses the more accurate and less offensive term “fastback sports sedan” to describe the new Stinger, unveiled tonight ahead of the 2017 North American International Auto Show. Kia will offer the rear-drive, coupe-like 2018 Stinger liftback with turbocharged four-cylinder and V6 powerplants, and optional all-wheel drive.

Read More >

By on August 2, 2016

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan

Consider it a low point in German-Korean relations.

Thanks to the diesel emissions scandal, South Korea just decertified about 68 percent of all Volkswagen, Bentley and Audi vehicles sold in that country over the past decade, Reuters reports. The country also revoked the certification of 80 model variants and leveled a large fine, meaning VW’s one-time Asian market breakthrough is truly busted. Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen’s Korean sales slump just became a sales cliff leading to the Challenger Deep.

The embattled automaker suspended sales of most of its models in the Asian country ahead of a environmental review that could lead to a sales ban, Reuters reports. Read More >

By on July 12, 2016

2017 Elantra Sport

Hyundai set out to make its Elantra hotter, and it’s happy to report that the sedan’s output now tops 200 horsepower in newly unveiled Sport form.

The 2017 Elantra Sport brings a third engine choice to the model lineup — a turbocharged 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder making “more than” 200 horsepower and 190 pounds-feet of torque, according to the automaker. Read More >

By on July 6, 2016

lawsuit

There’s a good chance that the former managing director of Audi Volkswagen Korea will soon find himself pleading for a sip of Coke during the 11th hour of a grueling interrogation process.

Park Dong-hoon, now CEO of Renault Samsung Motors, was recently identified as a suspect in South Korea’s investigation into the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal, according to Wards Auto. That means a date with the “VIP Suite.” Read More >

By on June 20, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

South Koreans are used to having a bunch of Americans hanging around, but the arrival of a group of Tesla employees won’t be welcomed by executives at Hyundai.

Tesla wants into the South Korean marketplace, and just posted job listings for sales and engineering positions in the Asian country, Bloomberg reports. Already registered in South Korea, the automaker plans to open up an office in Seoul and hire a recruiter based out of Japan. Read More >

By on May 16, 2016

2014_Nissan_Qashqai_Right_Side

It’s nowhere near the scale of the Volkswagen debacle, but Nissan is in hot water with the South Korean government over dodgy emissions from its diesel SUV.

That country’s environment ministry accuses Nissan of using a “defeat device” to disable the emissions controls on its UK-built Qashqai SUV, Automotive News reports. Read More >

By on May 7, 2016

2017 Elantra Eco

Hyundai sent its newly redesigned compact away for a lifestyle change, and it returned as the fuel-sipping Elantra Eco.

Sporting a new drivetrain and an EPA-estimated highway fuel economy rating of 40 miles per gallon, the 2017 Elantra Eco retails for $21,485 (after freight). City and combined ratings are 32 and 35 mpg, respectively.

The 2017 Elantra Limited we tested was no gas guzzler, often surpassing its 37 mpg highway rating, but the new Eco clearly has its competitors’ 40-plus mpg ratings in its sights. It’s also possible that Hyundai still has some lingering guilt over the not-yet-forgotten gas mileage scandal of four years ago. Read More >

By on May 3, 2016

Hyundai-Elantra-Sport

Hyundai just revealed its Korean-market Avante Sport, but it’s also a preview of what North American customers can expect in their Elantra lineup.

The Avante is what people in Seoul call an Elantra, and the new performance model puts the automaker in a better position to fend off competition from the likes of Honda, Volkswagen and Mazda.

The redesigned 2017 Elantra Limited we tested had improved styling and a better ride, but was lacking in power. The Sport model’s Korean specifications shows 204 horsepower from a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder, as well as a multi-link rear suspension. Read More >

By on May 2, 2016

North Korea (Image: CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia)

Like two brothers who really, really, really can’t get along (I can’t stress enough how much they don’t get along) no matter how hard they supposedly try, the Koreas have a hot/cold relationship, to put it mildly.

One moment, the brothers are manufacturing trinkets together in Kaesong Industrial Region, a special administrative region in the DPRK. The next, the North is threatening to bomb everyone and the South shuts off the water and electricity service (literally) to its brother’s apartment.

But what if the Koreas unified; became whole again? Mike Rutherford of AutoExpress thinks it would be a car-building paradise, with Hyundai, Kia, Samsung, and SsangYong best poised to take advantage of low-cost Northern labor and cheap, cheap land.

Read More >

By on April 6, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-008

There are a lot of unhappy union executives in South Korea today after General Motors announced it won’t green light Chevrolet Impala production in the surging Asian market.

The model will continue to be imported from GM’s Hamtramck assembly plant, despite the popularity it has shown since going on sale in September of last year.

The union representing the bulk of GM Korea’s 17,000 workers isn’t taking the news lying down, saying the move threatens the existence of the company itself. Ko Nam-seok, leader of the GM Korea branch of the Korean Metal Workers Union, is expected to pan the decision in a meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra later this month.

Read More >

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