Car company of the year: Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group

The UK’s oldest motoring magazine, Autocar, has named Hyundai-Kia as its Car Company of the Year at its annual award ceremony in Westminster London, England. The annual Autocar awards event is widely considered Europe’s most prestigious industry accolades ceremony and is where the European Car of the Year Award winner is announced.

Citing the Korean giant’s “mind-blowing” ambition, editor Chas Hallet presented the title to Mr. Nam-Yong Kim, President of Hyundai-Kia’s European Research and Development Centre in Germany.

Hallett commented, “When the irrepressible Hyundai-Kia group started talking, just a few years ago, about wanting to become the world’s fifth largest car company behind Toyota, GM, Ford and Audi-VW, many of us were sceptical.


“Then the Korean group got serious. They hatched a plan to assemble a European design and engineering team to conceive a range of models for Europe. Boldly, they challenged the VW Golf and Ford Focus head on, building cars that looked as good and worked as well – and offering them with a far longer warranty, just for good measure.

“They began to acquire a reputation as the Eastern marques that would bring forth bold design concepts, much as Citroën has been doing in Europe, and they built separate factories for Hyundai and Kia in lower-cost Eastern Europe, servicing both operations from handily placed engine and gearbox plants,” he added.

The product of a merger in 1998, Hyundai-Kia currently dominate the Korean domestic car market with an 80 per cent share and this year became the world’s fifth largest car-maker, according to Automotive News in the US.

With plants in North America, China, Europe and other locations including Russia, the Middle East and South East Asia, Hyundai-Kia have climbed into the top ranks of the world’s biggest car companies in less than 50 years. Both companies began making automobiles in the 1960s and didn’t start exporting their products until the 1980s.

Kia currently builds its very successful cee’d family and Sportage SUV models at its state-of-the-art factory in Zilina in the Slovak Republic, and construction of a plant in Georgia, USA is nearing completion.

President Nam-Yong Kim commented, “This recognition of the efforts of everyone within Hyundai and Kia is a great honour, coming from such a renowned publication as Autocar. This is a significant recognition of the determination of our Chairman, Mr. Mong-Koo Chung and all of our people to firmly put the Korean automotive industry on the global map.”

28 thoughts on “Car company of the year: Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group

  1. After looking at a picture of the Opel Astra, I’ve determined that the car next to the pro_ceed is in fact an Opel Astra. But that is irrelevant to this store. himi?

  2. Nope Greg, check again, it’s not an Opel! it’s a hyundai i30. The story relates not only to Kia but Hyundai as well, so I included cars from H-K group in the image.

  3. Congratulations on your order Richard! Let us know about it and feel free to join our cee’d/pro_cee’d/cee’d SW forums!

    Thats right, Hyundai is bringing the i30 wagon to US and Canada and they will sell it as Elantra Touring.

  4. i actually like the elantra touring/i30. with the optional 18″ wheels & sport suspension pkg (which lowers the car) it looks quite nice.

  5. For Kia it’s an Important Award . I’am waiting to see new two cars from KIA the B segment ,it’s the new Fiesta rival and the smaller car than picanto with 8 cc 3 cylider engine. Kia annocned to shock the world with these cars. GOOD LUCK KIA . DARREN FROM MALTA.

  6. Ooh boy, a 3 cylinder. That is what they put in most outboard boat motors. 75 horses of pure ****.

  7. Greg, what prompted such a negative response there? 3 cylinder motors are not uncommon and if it’s comparable to other offerings in that market there’s nothing wrong with it in the least. For crying out loud, the guy who posted that is from Malta where such vehicles are not uncommon at all.

  8. I am not “power V8 hungry” as some people suggest, but I think that using smaller 4 cylinders is better than using only 3 cylinders. Honestly, a .8L 4 cylinder has more power and better fuel efficiency than a .8L 3 cylinder engine. When are we going o be putting V2 riding lawnmower engines in our cars? Hey, they can produce 30 HP, why not???

  9. Any links to back that up Greg? It’s completely unsupportable, but I’d like to know if you can provide anything except your bias as evidence.

  10. Once you slow the 4 down where the frictional losses are the same for the motor, then the alternator, waterpump, etc would be turning slower, thus more mpg, plus the mechanical advantage- extra spark plug, more flow, etc. Plus, the 3 cylinder has to run at a higher RPM than the 4 cylinder. The 4 cylinder has smaller pistons than the same size 3 cylinder, less fuel is needed to power it. Hence, .8L 4 cylinder has better horsepower and fuel efficiency than a .8L 3 cylinder.

  11. In a *car* which is traditionally heavier than a motorcycle, given 2 engines of the same size and differing in that one has 3 cylinders to the others 4, the 3 cylinder will probably (almost definitely) be torquier. A car like the one in question using the 3 cylinder is likely to be used in an environment where torque to get up and moving from stop to stop trumps overall horsepower. A small 4 cylinder engine needs to rev pretty high to make adequate torque. The 3 cylinder would be more drivable overall and if anything, may lack on the top end. That’s fine because top end is not a big concern for people buying a car in that class. A 3 cylinder motor is also cheaper to build since you’re losing 4 valves, an injector, a connecting rod, a piston, and some rings. You also require less machining for the block, and can use shorter cams and crankshaft and the whole package can weigh less. In a small car every pound/kilo can count. The 3 cylinder will typically rev at lower rpms in normal driving due to higher torque and *that* will help realize the fuel economies you want in a car like that.

    Additionally, to address your other rant about using “V2” motors, it’s already been done quite a bit with cars that sold in massive quantities. The Renault 2CV had a 2 cylinder motor and many of them are still on the roads today. The Trabant had a 2 cylinder motor as well and if you’d in Eastern Europe you’d probably have learned to drive in one. Finally, all Japanese Kei cars use 2 cylinder motors of no more than 660cc’s and 63 hp.

  12. Well. If people are putting 3 cylinders in cars, why aren’t we putting 1/2 cylinder engines in the typical lawn mower? A one cylinder burns more gas and revs at a higher RPM, and that little extra horsepower is not needed. Is 3 HP really needed only to turn a mower blade?a 1/2 cylinder may pose a problem for the wrist pin, though, but it would cost less! Another thing, Riding lawn mowers don’t need more than a single cylinder! Why put a V2 in there when you can have a 3HP single cylinder in there! Does a rider ever pull anything that would require more than 3 HP? And it would cost less! Why put a 4 cylinder in a car? Why not just put in a 3 cylinder. A car never needs more than 90HP anyway, plus, they use more gas, and they rev higher, and they are more expensive to produce! Why put V6 engines in cars? A 3 cylinder is just fine for all applications! Why do large SUVs get V6 or V8 engines? A small 4 cylinder is fine!! I am all for small four cylinder engines, but What in the hell is wrong with Europe? Before you know it, they will be putting single cylinders in their car. And besides, Bancho and JoshyLofty would try their hardest to prove me wrong even if I supplied sufficient proof. They just have to say things like “No one needs that” or “That’s too expensive for reality”. Well, cell phones, TV service, and electricity are all things we do not NEED. So why should cars be any different. Hell, we don’t even need cars! If Europe is so concerned about their fuel efficiency problems, why aren’t they driving mopeds getting 100MPG. You guys, get a new hobby. The majority of people in everywhere except Europe and JoshyLofty’s house like a little power under the hood because they don’t like to strain their engines to full capacity and burn more gas when trying to accelerate or pass! You want to go on about it, fine. You people piss me off. Why don’t you leave and never come back. Enjoy your tiny “fuel efficient” “all you really NEED” engines!!!!!!!!!

  13. You *never* show proof. You spout a stream of consciousness of random engine related words without context or proof, then resort to calling other posters idiots. Just because you’re able to type out a stream of characters and get some to form words doesn’t mean that the results are indisputable. If you want to spout comments like that then try to form a reasoned argument *why* you feel it’s correct and maybe even throw in a link for fun (if it can help prove your point). If you act like this when your biased and xenophobic claims are challenged then expect not to receive the most polite or accepting responses.

    I explained why you were wrong. Your cluster of words in that reply didn’t refute my post. My post wasn’t about *need*. My post was about why a 3 cylinder engine could be more useful to the car in question due to it’s projected use. In the real world you determine use cases for things when you’re designing. Racing isn’t a use case for a vehicle in that class but real world A to B driving is (probably in an urban environment) so you decide what the best engine for the job would be and costs are part of that decision process.

    Lastly, you come off as an ignorant, uncultured, spoiled person when you spout some of the things in your posts. Who are *you* to decide what a guy from Malta should want to drive, or what his needs are? For him, in that country, families probably don’t own 2 or 3 cars. Maybe the car he’s asking about is something to aspire to own and he’s excited to hear more about it. You are providing a very negative image of what Americans are like Greg. I’ve lived in several parts of the US and haven’t run into many people like you, but to people reading this site you might seem like their image of the *typical* American. I’m really ashamed to think that you could be representing this country in any way, even something as simple as posting on an internet forum.

  14. Geo Metro Used a 3 Cyl engine for years and I still see those things on the Road today. Sure it wasn’t fast but it got like 35+ MPG and for the late 90’s that was awesome mileage.

  15. Wasn’t talking about racing. I’m talking about accelerating. When getting on to a limited access highway or a regualr highway, you must achieve your speed quickly, as not to disturb other drivers. *One person I know*(not the best “proof” I’ll admit) that visited Europe said that people pull out in their small engine cars, and take two minutes to get going to the speed limit again. That is extremely rude, and *probably* happens all the time. If you are on the on ramp of a limited access road, you should use the on ramp to get up to speed. People with too small of engines get on the ramp, and they can’t get up to 110km/h in the time period needed, and must stop before merging into traffic posing a safety threat. Read this comparing Rio to Optima is several 0-100km/h quickly scenarios. Yes, it does have fast speeds, but there really isn’t too much more burned in that case than say a rural or suburban highway with stoplights and several 0-100 cases.

    If you try to drive a Rio like you can drive a 2.4L Optima, the Rio ends up getting less MPG than the Optima. Try that experiment, teeny engine lovers! Driving an Optima from 0-60 MPH in 10 seconds uses a lot less gas than driving a Rio from zero to 60 in 10 seconds (which the Rio will barely do, anyway). Here was my experiment:
    The cars: 2007 Kia Rio 1.6L Auto 4spd. When course starts, tank is full.
    2007 Kia Optima 2.4L Auto 5spd When course starts, tank is full.
    The course:
    Course distance: 5 miles
    Completion time:4-8 minutes, depending on traffic
    Top speed reached: 123MPH
    Speed limit on all roads: 55MPH
    Leg one:
    Minimum 0-60 time: 10 seconds
    Road name(s): Merkey Rd.
    Stop signs:1
    Leg one Verdict:
    Rio: Does the original 0-60 in just under 10 seconds. Top speed reached on this part of the course was 82MPH. The Rio completed it in 1 min 4 seconds.
    Optima: Optima gets going 0-60 in 7 seconds. Top speed reached on this part of the course was 89MPH. The Optima completed it in just 52 seconds.
    Leg two:
    Minimum 0-60 time: 10 seconds
    Road name(s): Cherry, Red apple, and Wildwood
    Stop signs: 2
    Leg two Verdict:
    Rio: Again, Rio does the 0-60 in just under 10 seconds. On Cherry road it got up to 65 MPH, Red apple neither vehicle made it to 60. On Wildwood, the Rio made it to a top speed of 109MPH before having to stop at the end of leg two. Rio completed leg two in 1 min 31 seconds
    Optima: Optima again did the 0-60 no problem. On Cherry, Optima just broke the 73MPH mark before having to slow down. As mentioned before, it did not get up to 60 on red apple. On wildwood was where the course’s top speed was reached. 123MPH before having to slow down. Optima did leg two in 1 min 15 seconds.
    Leg three:
    Road name(s): Indian trail, old maple(residential road that tunnels under maple road)
    Stop signs: 2
    Leg three verdict:
    Rio: The zero to 60 thing was done fine. On Indian trail, it just broke 88MPH before having to stop. On Old maple, a curvy residential road, the Rio did not go over 65MPH. It felt like it was sliding in the turns, and even had to be slowed, but not under 60. Leg 3 completed in 1 min 45 seconds.
    Optima: Of course flawless 0-60. Optima hit 107 on Indian trail before stopping. On old maple, the optima sailed through the curves with confidence at 70 MPH. Leg 3 completed in 1 min 38 seconds.
    Leg four(final leg):
    Road Name(s) Maple, Pruess, US 31
    Stop signs: 1
    Leg four verdict:
    Rio. Didn’t get to 60 on Maple. On Pruess, it hit 81 before stopping. On US 31 the 0-60 time was met, but due to highway traffic could not go more than 70MPH. Rio finished this leg in 3 min 9 seconds
    Optima: Just hit 60 on maple. On Pruess hit 93. On US 31 there was no 0-60 problem, but due to traffic, more than 70 MPH was not attainable. Optima finished the leg in 2 min 55 seconds.
    When course was finished, vehicles were promptly filled until gas pump auto shut-off. Here are the final ratings:
    Time taken: 7 min 29 seconds
    Fuel Used: .25 gallons
    Fuel Cost: $0.50
    MPG: 20
    Top speed reached: 109MPH

    Time taken: 6 min 40 seconds
    Fuel Used: .18 gallons
    Fuel Cost: $0.35
    MPG: 27.8
    Top Speed Reached: 123MPH
    Optima clearly won (the time and speed is not surprising because of bigger engine). The shocking part is that when you want to get moving quickly with a 1.6L, you will pay more for it in the long run. The larger, more powerful engine, even with a much larger car body beats out the smaller engine with MPG.
    Again, there is a lot of “performance driving” going on here, but again, not many RPMs higher than driving a rural or suburban highway.

    Another thing is, I was not *trying* to be rude. I am the kind of person that speaks my mind, and isn’t afraid to say something. Many people tend not to like that, but I don’t care. Subtle and beating around the bush are things that I do not do.

  16. Greg , you known Toyota make 10cc 3 cylinder on new yaris and aygo? , the fiat on 500 the ford on new ka and new fiesta ??

  17. Hey Darren, I hear that Fiat also has a 900cc Parallel twin with a turbo planned for the 500. I wish they’d bring that car stateside. It’d be a nice competitor for the MINI.

  18. in my opinon I don’t like 3 cylinder but in car smaller than picanto is fit good . I have kia mentor and CEED they are 4 cylinder .

  19. Clearly Greg has never been in Europe. I also have a 3 Cilinder 1.1 CRDI Picanto (how much Cubic inches is that?), and I’d take on Greg’s Optima anytime in the 60 to 90Kph sprint! I won’t say I’ll make it for sure, but he’ll surely have a hard time (using +/- three times as much fuell!)

  20. I like smaller engines, and especially a four cylinder with good torque. I have had some four cylinder engines that I had to flog on a daily basis….even when I didn’t want to. Once I was almost run off the road by an 18-wheeler big-rig while trying to merge onto a freeway. I wasn’t able to get up to speed quick enough, even with the pedal smashed down. I’m sure I wasn’t getting the good fuel economy doing that. On some of the freeways and Interstate highways here in California, you can’t expect courtesy from V-8 drivers seemingly late from some appointment. In Portland, where I was born, people are more polite, less aggressive and more patient. Not so where I live. But the real problem with flogging a tiny engine for me was the noise in the cabin, and the obvious wear on the engine that comes from pushing it into the high area of the rpm range. I don’t have that problem now. My Suzuki Aerio has 155 hp and 152 ft/lbs of torque at 3,000 rpms….and it’s a four cylinder manual. I can shift quite low and get good acceleration…. without ever going near the read-line. There are towns and villages around the globe where a 3 cylinder car is perfectly adequate, but not everywhere.

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