On the eve of 1988’s burning summer Olympic games in Seoul, we Brits could have purchased any Korean automobile we liked; as long as it was a Hyundai, typically featuring a nasty blue interior and an even nastier pea green paintjob. Rightly, we didn’t queue to purchase ’em.
Wind forward three decades and during this, the first week of the winter season Olympics in PyeongChang, just up the icy mountain road from Seoul, and Hyundais are selling big time to UK consumers. As are Kias. and with SsangYong SUVs also in the mix, the Koreans will again shift around 200,000 automobiles to Brits this year. Not bad. but nowhere near good enough for a still ambitious, if tiny, north east Asian country that already builds about the same number of automobiles yearly (3.9 million) as the wobbly, considerably larger USA.
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Truth is, the Koreans are merely warming up when it concerns this automobile building lark. The above recognized marques will continue to do their thing. but there’s no reason why automotive brands from the recent past including Panther (sports cars), Asia Motors (great little SUVs) and Daewoo (cheap urban family runabouts) can’t and won’t return to or make their debuts in UK sales outlets. Oullim and Proto are others with potential.