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Hyundai-Kia Named 'Car Company of the Year' by Autocar

November 18th, 2008
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Britain’s oldest motoring magazine, Autocar, has named Hyundai-Kia as its ‘Car Company of the Year’ at its annual award ceremony in Westminster, London.

Citing the Korean giant’s “mind-blowing” ambition, editor Chas Hallet presented the title to Mr. Nam-Yong Kim, President of Hyundai-Kia’s European Research and Development Centre in Germany.

Hallett said, “When the irrepressible Hyundai-Kia group started talking, just a few years ago, about wanting to become the world’s fifth largest car company behind Toyota, GM, Ford and Audi-VW, many of us were sceptical.

“Then the Korean group got serious. They hatched a plan to assemble a European design and engineering team to conceive a range of models for Europe. Boldly, they challenged the VW Golf and Ford Focus head on, building cars that looked as good and worked as well – and offering them with a far longer warranty, just for good measure. They began to acquire a reputation as the Eastern marques that would bring forth bold design concepts, much as Citroen has been doing in Europe, and they built separate factories for Hyundai and Kia in lower-cost Eastern Europe, servicing both operations from handily placed engine and gearbox plants,” he added.

The product of a Hyundai takeover in 1998, Hyundai-Kia currently dominates the Korean domestic car market with an 80 per cent share and this year became the world’s fifth largest car-maker according to Automotive News in the US.

With plants in North America, China, Europe and other locations including Russia, the Middle East and South East Asia Hyundai-Kia has climbed into the top ranks of the world’s biggest car companies in less than 50 years. Both companies began making automobiles in the 1960s and didn’t start exporting their products until the 1980s.

The Autocar accolade is awarded just days after mass production was officially launched in the first European Hyundai automotive plant - Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech in Nosovice, the Czech Republic. Once the factory is at full production the Czech Republic will take over position as the company’s European leader in terms of number of cars produced.

President of Hyundai Motor UK Ltd, Ken Lee said: “The new Hyundai factory has advanced technologies and we will be able to deliver a much faster and more flexible service to our European customers. We are now recognised as a major global manufacturer and this new production plant shows our commitment in developing our sales and our presence in Europe.”

“To receive a prestigious award such as this values our hard work and determination,” added Mr. Kim.

Editor Chas Hallet continued, “Formerly devoid of ‘image’ their marques have lately began to acquire some. The Hyundai i10 has been winning friends all over Europe. In short Hyundai-Kia had been doing just about everything right and it is dramatically paying off.”

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