2011 Seoul - Hyundai, Kia and GM Korea rock the show

If you are still not convinced about the much-publicized and widely-appreciated rise of the Korean automotive brands, look no further than the 2011 Seoul Motor Show to have your doubts crushed. Held last week under the theme ‘Evolution - Green Revolution on Wheels’, the show saw the Korean automakers come out with all guns blazing. The hidden message ‘Japan, just like in electronics, we are almost there in automobiles too!’ was very clearly obvious on the stands.

Who else could better demonstrate this supremacy than the high-flying duo of Hyundai and Kia? After all, they have been the brands currently with the Midas touch in automobiles, hitting the bull’s eye with every new model launched in the last few years. Just a casual glance at the models that were on display in their stands is enough to scare the hell out of their immediate Japanese and European rivals. Is Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen taking notice? They better be.

Hyundai showcased its globally successful ‘Fluidic’ trio of Accent, Avante (Elantra) and Sonata apart from the recently-launched Grandeur luxury sedan and the all-new Veloster coupe. The famous ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design philosophy has evolved into ‘Intersected Flow’, which was the theme used for designing the Blue-2 Concept, a fuel-cell electric car on display. Though the car looked pretty good, the fact that it has been inspired by brands like Saab and Opel were clearly apparent.

The Kia stand in comparison was even more colorful and the models even more stylish, courtesy the brilliance of Kia's design head Mr. Peter Schreyer. The superbly-designed Forte, the stunning K5 (Optima) and the Picanto were all there as were the KV7 and Naimo electric vehicle concepts. Looking at all those models, one can only feel that its a pity Kia is not heading to India anytime soon.

The recently renamed GM Korea also showed its might with all its models now wearing the Chevrolet bow-tie badge. So did Renault-Samsung too. Ssangyong, the once-bankrupt automaker which was taken over by Mahindra, proved that the future is not all dark for the brand. Their complete lineup, starting from the India-bound Korando and Rexton to the awfully bad-looking Actyon, were on display.

With the Korean market starting to open up to global brands, more so in the luxury segment, the German brands Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi showed why they are being held with such high esteem throughout the world. The pick of the show for me however, apart from the stylish Hyundai i40 Wagon, was our very own Tata Nano. If you are guessing about Nano's connection with Korea, don't forget that Tata owns Daewoo's commercial vehicle division.

Photography: Seung Jin Shin


  1. cool post. Happy to use see that my photos are on your blog.

  2. Tks Shin for your nice comments and also for your photos of the Seoul Motor Show.