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“[Hyundai] Sonata a very honorable contender…”

First of all I’d like to congratulate the Japanese woman’s football team for their World Cup win.  Good win and good news for an earthquake disaster weary nation, but the U.S. woman’s team did hand it to them on a silver platter on those missed penalty kicks.

Anyways, to apparently reprise Honda’s comments nearly two years ago that “Hyundai is awesome,” Toyota’s North American chief, Yoshimi Inaba, declared that “Sonata became a very honorable contender in the market.”

Japanese automakers have been sucking wind since the Fukushima earthquake disrupted manufacturing for both component suppliers and OEMs.  Who’s been around to pick up the slack?  American and Korean auto manufacturers.  They have clearly been picking up market share as the Japanese automakers have been partially paralyzed due to component supply issues.

Korean automakers have particularly benefited from this Japanese pause in manufacturing.  They are gobbling up market share from all the major Japanese players.  In response, Toyota will soon be launching the 2012 Camry.  Cool, as I have fond memories of my parent’s extremely reliable Camrys.  Before my parents owned Camrys they bought a brand spanking new Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.  Unfortunately, just after 33k miles, my dad had to hold that thing together with duct tape and chewing gum and I had to waste spend my weekends helping him.  However, for the Camry’s sake, I hope it doesn’t look like this spy shot.  I don’t know.  It just looks a little sedate to me.  I would think Toyota would have to do something a bit more drastic on the styling front.

Another interesting side note.  In the not too distant past, Korean automakers were heavily dependent on Japanese component suppliers to make their cars.  Toyota basically gave their suppliers an ultimatum to stop selling to Hyundai and many did stop.  Hyundai found Korean suppliers to replace the Japanese suppliers that had to quit due to Toyota arm twisting.  The irony is that Hyundai, partially due to this reason, had enough non-Japanese suppliers that the Fukushima earthquake did not meaningfully affect their production.

  • guitard

    the U.S. woman’s team did hand it to them on a silver platter on those missed penalty kicks.

    I thought the five or six really high quality scoring chances (to include three shots off either the side or crossbar) that resulted in zero points were the real difference in the game. The penalty kicks were just the icing on the cake for the Japanese.

  • http://www.konnectmagazine.com Moses Yoon – the bulgogi monster

    I can honestly say that Korean car makers have come a LONG way from their doldrum years of manufacturing car. I could remember all of my friends parents’ owned Japanese cards like Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. None owned Korean cards.

    Let’s fast forward to 2011. I noticed that Koreans now own Korean cars instead of Japanese cars. It’s not everybody, but there is a sense that Korean cars are here to stay from a quality and performance perspectives.

    The turnaround is incredible. The awards are pointing to Korean cars now. Crazy changes in our modern technological age. For cars, it’s Korea vs. Japan!

  • http://adamsawry.wordpress.com Adams-awry

    Tell me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there only one Korean car maker: HAG (which has a big slice of Kia, before you call me on that.)

    And are they still charging Koreans more than Americans and Europeans for the same cars?

    And are Koreans still mollified when they are told that this is so HAG can gain bigger market share in those markets, ultimately benefitting Korea?

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    isn’t there only one Korean car maker

    Depends on how you count “Korean” car maker. If you interpret that as “Korean-owned,” than the answer is yes. If you interpret that as “manufactured in Korea,” then Korean car makers would also include Renault Samsung, GM Daewoo and Ssangyong.

  • DLBarch

    Don’t forget Oullim Motors and Tata Daewoo, unless sports cars and commerical vehicles don’t count.

    DLB

  • Maximus2008

    “would also include Renault Samsung, GM Daewoo and Ssangyong”

    There is no more “GM Daewoo”. Daewoo brand was dropped in March 2011. Company name now is “GM Korea”, and the brand is Chevrolet.

    For the records, March saw 30% more sales than Feb ’11 and 60% more than Mar ’10, due to the brand change.

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