By Colin Campbell - Monday, February 4, 2013 - 0 Comments
‘A very difficult year’ for Hyundai and Kia gets worse
Last year, Hyundai, along with Kia, which it partly owns, admitted it had overstated fuel-efficiency ratings on some new cars and promised to compensate buyers. This week, the carmakers revealed just how much the error will cost. They have set aside nearly half a billion dollars (US$225 million for Hyundai and US$187 million for Kia).
The hit comes at an already tough time for the South Korean companies. While they’ve been enjoying rising sales in North America, one key advantage—favourable exchange rates—is deteriorating fast as the won rises against the dollar and the yen in Japan, home to chief rival Toyota. Last week, Hyundai reported that its quarterly profit fell a surprising 5.5 per cent. Over the past four years, Hyundai was the world’s fastest growing automaker. Now, facing what company chairman Chung Mong Koo calls “a very difficult year,” that streak seems certain to come to an abrupt halt.
By Chris Sorensen - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 12:30 PM - 10 Comments
Once the butt of jokes, the South Korean companies are suddenly the fastest-growing automakers
Hyundai’s entry into the North American car market in the 1980s was an inauspicious one. Though low-priced models like the Excel and the Pony attracted frugal buyers, the South Korean company’s name quickly became synonymous with unreliable cars, and even found itself the butt of comedians’ jokes. But these days, Hyundai and its sister brand Kia have become the biggest growth stories in the automotive world—so much so that some are talking about the possibility of South Korea one day rivalling Japan’s industry clout. Continue…
By Colin Campbell - Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 11:00 AM - 3 Comments
It’s not just cars that are getting smaller, so are car companies
If you think everyone in the auto sector is feeling grim these days, then you haven’t talked to John Vernile. The vice-president of sales at Hyundai Auto Canada says the recent turmoil has been nothing but good news. Sales for the South Korean automaker are up “in every segment,” he says—amounting to an overall surge in sales of 20 per cent during the first half of this year. “When this downturn hit, it just dialled things up for us,” he says. Thanks in part to the demand for Hyundai’s smaller cars, the company has suddenly emerged as one of the dominant players, not just in North America but globally. It’s now the fifth-largest carmaker in the world. In quality surveys, it ranks ahead of Toyota and Honda. Market share is up, sales are up, and opportunity abounds. Despite the tough economic times, “we quietly celebrate here,” says Vernile.
That kind of talk should have struggling industry heavyweights such as General Motors, which just emerged from bankruptcy protection, in panic mode. It is, after all, a revolutionary shift from 20 years ago when Hyundai was best known for the Pony, a small, cheap and just plain ugly car. Today, Hyundai has one of the hottest cars on the road with the Genesis, a sleek and expensive sedan that won the North American and Canadian car of the year awards. “Who would have ever thought we’d be selling a car over $40,000?” quips Vernile. “We can’t keep them in stock.” Continue…