Hyundai is Awesome. Even Honda Admits It!

Remember when Hyundai was a joke?

Remember when Hyundai was a joke?

When Japanese automakers entered the U.S. market, they changed the very fabric of the American auto industry. The cars they offered were small, inexpensive and quickly built a reputation for reliability that exists to this day.

Toyota, Honda and Nissan happily took market share away from the U.S. automakers and never looked back.

Today though, the Japanese are forced to glance backwards because South Korean automaker Hyundai is storming forward and steadily taking customers away; just as Japanese companies did to the U.S. automakers.

The irony comes full circle with this quote from Honda CEO Takanobu Ito:

Hyundai is awesome. They are undoubtedly a threat because their products are cheap, and the quality is improving.

To say Hyundai’s quality is “improving” is like saying the Pittsburgh Steelers are Super Bowl contenders. Hyundai isn’t improving, the company has improved to the point where I believe it could build a better Honda than Honda does.

Toyota’s chief even went so far as to say that his company is “grasping for salvation” and is in the final stages of corporate decline.

While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, Nissan’s senior vice-president Shiro Nakamura compared the whole situation to food by saying,

We have to offer the equivalents of sushi, tempura and kaiseki to compete against Korean barbecue.

I think what he was trying say, in a really weird way, is that Japanese automakers need to find a way to make sure consumers see the value in paying more for Japanese cars. I’m not sure that’s a winning proposition, as this Great Recession will only motivate more buyers to look for long-term value and reliability.

That’s an equation Hyundai has a very firm grasp on.

Will Hyundai continue its rise and overcome Japanese automakers? I think Mazda and Nissan are more at-risk than Toyota or Honda, but what do you think?



  1. Not only does the great hulking American Neanderthal import oil he cannot afford to fuel his cars, he now imports the cars! Corporatism, capitalism know no bounds! As we watch the economical demise of this great beast, witness his last shouts echoing off the walls of Hell as the great abyss closes over his head, we wonder, “What human flaw did this first, to the Great Soviet Empire, now this! SEE: Within decades of the first great miracle of the age? how can we keep mankind from the same fate? A disciplined sustainable lifestyle? or the ever-famous economy and durability of the Asian motor car? I ask you, can we make these changes in time?

  2. I love it as Im old enough to remember early Japanese cars and the nickname japcrap was well deserved. Now they are well respected but they all started the same way.Hyundai started reskining old Cortinas an Mitsubishis ok a cheap way to kickstart but do you realise haha the first Nissan was an English Austin7 and rebadging Austins continued into the 60s and NISSAN/Datsun still used copied Austin engines in the 70s in some models. Isuzu was making Hillmans for years and Toyota had been copying Chevrolets in 1940. So like em or not they are following a well used successfull formula. AS for wising up fast in Aussie the Hyundai Excel/Accent becamethe best selling car on price alone it was so cheap whitegoods on wheels and nobody looked after them who cared for $50 a week. Well Hyundai cared enough about their reputation to offer free servicing and a 5 year warranty because the cars were some time being driven 60000 miles and blowing up because the oil water hadnt been checked since new. they arent stupid.

  3. I just got rid of a Hyundai Azera. On the surface it looked like quality but dig deep and you see that the emperor has no cloths. The Azera was in the shop for warranty work 8 times in 2 years. The worst of which was on- going suspension problems. Hyundai tried to fix it (once) but when it reoccurred (still under warranty) they denied anything was wrong and had a piss poor attitude about it. Hyundai service after the sale was awful on both the local and corporate level. Out of the last 10 Japanese cars that I’ve owned over the past 20 years only one of them went back for warranty defects which is why they have such a loyal following (just ask GM, Ford and Chrysler). Sure Hyundai has come a long way in recent years but in the long run they will have trouble retaining customers and will never rival the customer loyalty of most of the Japanese auto makers unless they wise up (and fast) with better reliability and, more importantly, better customer relations after the sale. Just like the domestic cars of the 70s, 80s and 90s, Hyundai ownership left a bad impression with me. The Azera was my first and last Hyundai.

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