Its not that Hyundai in Korea is like Maruti Suzuki in India. Though both are the largest car manufacturers in their respective countries, Hyundai does have cars that can compete for an award like Car of the Year, unlike Maruti Suzuki India, who concentrates more on quantity, rather than quality. So when a little birdie told Hyundai about the award, they refused to attend the event, which has been organized annually since 2010, the same year that Toyota Motors entered Korea.
Even Toyota was left surprised, for obvious reasons. Hisao Nakabayashi, President, Toyota Korea revealed in his acceptance speech that this was totally unexpected. Hisao also collected awards for Lexus GS and Prius at the same function and gave acceptance speech in Korean. But when he was called on for Camry, his emotions took hold of him and he requested for a translator. On the other hand, back at the Hyunda HQs, an official on the condition of annonymity, said, “We are perplexed. It would have been a lot better if a Korean brand won the top prize,” reports The Korea Herald.
The win was momentous for Toyota. This company entered South Korean markets in 2010. 2011 saw a total of 5,020 vehicles sold, while the company doubled that number in 2012 with 10,795 units sold. Market share also increased likewise from 4.78% to 8.25%. Toyota managed to keep prices of their Camry well within competitive limits due to the fact that the vehicle is imported from US and not from Japan. This way the company was taking advantage of Korea – US free trade pact and the Won-US$ rate which also resulted in the Camry being the second best selling imported car in 2012 just short of BMW 520d.