High Praise for Hyundai
The company may have pulled out of the Tokyo Motor Show, but Japanese rivals still have Hyundai on their minds.
According to Autocar, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito didn’t mince words when it came to his South Korean rival: “Hyundai is awesome,” he said. “They are undoubtedly a threat because their products are cheap, and the quality is improving.” And Nissan designer Shiro Nakamura calls Hyundai “the biggest threat to Japanese automakers.”
Quality — which has not always been a hallmark of the brand — certainly is improving. The Hyundai Genesis won the North American Car of the Year last year, and the Equus sedan, built to compete with the likes of Lexus and Audi, has enjoyed pretty much rave reviews everywhere it’s been seen. That image up there, which looks like a cross between a Jag and the Buick LaCrosse, is the concept drawing of the 2010 Sonata; not a bad-looking ride. Not to mention the company was the also the big winner in terms of Cash for Clunkers sales, and is one of the few companies that have actually made gains during the economic downturn.
The Hyundai Kia Group certainly has a long way to go before unseating Toyota — still the world’s largest carmaker — but could it be we’re actually at the point where driving a Hyundai is … cool?