Ask the Best And The Brightest: Does South Korea's Prez Have A Thing For Hyundai?

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
ask the best and the brightest does south korea s prez have a thing for hyundai

Free market economics are a simple process. Or so they say. Dive in, and whoever survives, survives. Let the market decide. According to the pure tenets of free market economics, it’s important that the government shows no favoritism. Yeah, right.

The Korea Times reports that President Lee Myung-Bak is showing more than just interest in Hyundai-Kia. He shows up there on a regular basis. Since he took office in 2008, the Prez has dropped in five times on Hyundai factories. How many times has he visited facilities at Samsung, South Korea’s biggest chaebol in the same time frame? Once.

Hyundai? Soon after the Prez’ inauguration, he went to see Hyundai’s factory in Gwangju. Then, he went to the one in Beijing , then Chennai. Then, when he wanted to talk about the electric car’s role in the car industry, where did he hold this meeting? At Hyundai’s research center in Namyang, Gyeonggi Province. This man loves car factories!

“I don’t know whether or not the President really prefers Hyundai to the other groups, including Samsung. But his past activities cause some to scratch their heads since it is true that he once led a Hyundai company,” a Seoul analyst said.

“Some contend President Lee is not business-friendly but is Hyundai friendly. In other words, they are curious why President Lee is in a love affair with only Hyundai although other groups also flirt with him.” Maybe because he loves the thrill of car factories?

The Prez tried to hush his critics by offering a pardon to Lee Kun-Hee, the head of the Samsung Chaebol, after a scandal involving slush funds. I know a lot of our B&B think that the government helps South Korean car manufacturers get the edge over their competition. Are these frequent visits a smoking gun? Or is this really any different to Renault being part owned by the French Government? The US government bailing out and owning most of GM and Chrysler? Volkswagen being part owned by Lower Saxony? China owning most of their large auto companies outright?

What say you?

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3 of 8 comments
  • Spike_in_Brisbane Spike_in_Brisbane on Apr 12, 2010

    Up until 4 years ago I spent a fair bit of time in Seoul. It's abig city with bumper to bumper traffic and I very, very rarely saw ANY non-Korean cars. Just the odd BMW or Mercedes. The reason? Tariffs.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Apr 12, 2010

    Something tells me that Myung-Bak's coziness with Hyundai is much more acceptable in Korea than Obama's coziness with GM is in America. One company is a life saver to its people; the other is a rock around the neck. That said, all political involvement with private enterprise is like sleeping with your cousin after a few beers. Enjoy it now, because in the morning you are really going to hate yourself.

    • Jack99 Jack99 on Apr 13, 2010

      But cousin's cousin whom I met briefly a year ago isn't related to me. Is it ok that I find her kind of hot? =0

  • Redapple2 UAW - Already overpaid. Relevant question. What are the transplants paid? Honda, Toyota, Nissan, VW. What about Tesla? What about Tier 1 and 2 auto suppliers. UAW should have been smashed when GM and FCA went bankrupt.
  • Redapple2 TV screens to run everything instead of knobs. Turbo 4 that poorly does the job of a V 6. I think i will turn away from new product and preserve what I have for 15 years. I m reaching that point.
  • Redapple2 Air tags are cheap, if you must
  • Teddyc73 "While this may simply be the result of electric sales reaching peak saturation until technological improvements, emissions regulations or novel designs move the needle forward" You mean until Democrats using their lies about the climate change hoax further sabotage the oil industry forcing us into EVs.
  • Chris Doering I have a decent 78 xe lots of potential