What Do The BMW 523i And The Ford Taurus Have In Common?

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
what do the bmw 523i and the ford taurus have in common

Give up? The answer is that they’re giving South Korea a headache. OK, let’s go back a bit. The Korea Times reports that something funny is happening to the South Korean car market. Effectively, for years, the South Korean car market used to be closed off to foreign competition, thus, keeping domestic production and sales high. The market for foreign was only for the exclusively rich who didn’t mind paying the tariffs. But now, even the proletariat is getting in on the act. In spite of a global slump in the market, the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) reports that foreign imports rose, month on month, by 51.1 percent, to 7,208 units in April. Still a drop in the water: Korea makes 3.5m cars in a good year, of which 2.5m are exported. But it’s a start.

The reason for this surge in foreigners invading South Korea lies with the very reason South Koreans are invading other markets. “Prices of domestic vehicles have substantially appreciated during the past years in line with improving quality and brand power. In comparison, those of foreign ones decreased to cut down on the difference between the two,” a Seoul analyst said. “Hence, Koreans now have few reasons to stick to cars of Hyundai Motor or Kia Motors. They tend to buy whatever models, which attract them in terms of price or quality and such aspects will only strengthen further down the road.” Quality can be a pain in the wallet. Also, there is a thing called WTO. It cuts both ways.

Now, Ford Korea and BMW Korea are having trouble supplying the South Korean public with enough units of the Ford Taurus and the BMW 523i to keep them placated. BMW could only supply 200 units, trouble was, demand asked for 3000 units. And it’s not just BMW and Ford that are enjoying this boom. Similar stories exist for the Toyota Camry and the Volkswagen Golf TDI. South Korea’s population is currently at just over 50 million people. Which means that a significant market could be opening up for foreign car makers. And an almighty headache could be around the corner for South Korean car makers. Anyone got a Tylenol?

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  • Telegraph Road Telegraph Road on May 09, 2010

    The engineering content of vehicles is much more than the base platform. What Volvo has an EcoBoost powertrain? And what foreign engineering can be traced to the most popular vehicle in the U.S., the Ford F-150?

    • Newcarscostalot Newcarscostalot on May 10, 2010

      Perhaps he means parts sourced from other countries, not engineering. I have always wondered, do Chinese or Europeans, for example, complain about cheap American Made crap taking jobs away from them?

  • NN NN on May 10, 2010

    I can't see the Taurus really being popular in Korea. Maybe Ford is only sending 100 of them over for 2010, and there's demand for 150.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. https://insideevs.com/news/598046/toyota-global-leader-solid-state-batery-patents/Of course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.