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Hyundai and Kia Prove Korea is the “New Japan” of Automaking

In the last decade Korean automakers have come from nowhere to become a dominant force in the U.S. and on a global scale. Hyundai sales in the U.S. grew 32% in March while Kia saw a 45% uptick.

"The Korean's Kia and Hyundai have been able to achieve that level of success in a shorter period of time, in 10 years, but also in a much more competitive marketplace," says Jim Resnick Yahoo! Autos contributor, at the New York International Auto Show. Meanwhile, Toyota is still hurting from a series of high-profile recalls and production disruptions after Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. "I think they're out 'Toyota-ing' Toyota. If you think what Toyota did in the 70s and 80s offering great value, very reliable transportation and a great dealer network to service the cars. Yes, absolutely.

When they entered the U.S. market Korean cars were an after-thought, mocked for their quality….

Today, the Elantra and Sonata have helped make Hyundai the fastest growing major automaker in the world. When it comes to global sales Hyundai Motor jumped to fourth place last year, bypassing the resurgent Ford Motor Co., and putting several Japanese automakers in their rearview mirror.

Mike O'Brien Vice President of Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America says the next stage of growth for the company hinges on expanding their buyer base. "The idea is to help build a group of buyers that will be able to grow through our product line-up as they change in their life stage. Now, our new job is to make sure we have a product at everyone of those life stages."

Next up, Hyundai aims to attract younger buyers with their new Veloster and hopes to gain traction for their higher end Genesis. The company also plans to increase the number of hybrid offerings.

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