• Jul 20, 2010
Talk to most analysts in the auto world, and they'll say that the recent rise of South Korean automakers like Hyundai and Kia have been an absolute blessing to the industry as a whole. Consumers now have an array of quality, inexpensive products, extra jobs have landed in rural areas of the deep south thanks to American-based manufacturing facilities and the competition from low-priced models have forced domestic manufacturers to up their game.

But not everyone's thrilled about the balance of automotive trade between the two nations. According to The Detroit News, senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, recently wrote to the Obama administration in order to urge the President to take a hard line on the South Korean Free Trade Agreement.

The two senators aren't taking issue with Korean products here in the U.S., they simply think it's unfair that South Korea has made it economically difficult to import vehicles into the country. The senators want American companies to have the opportunity to do business on the peninsula – something that most automakers, with the exception of General Motors, have been pushing for since before the second President Bush was in office. GM, meanwhile, owns Korean automaker Daewoo, so it has no problem dealing with the current ban on auto imports.

For its part, Obama administration has said that it will once again open talks about the free trade agreement in hopes of making more American goods available in the global market.

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images]


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  • 81 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      @ Foxhound

      Not to troll, but they all have I4 engines...not V4...just something that bugs me, as I'm sure it does most people on this site.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "been pushing for since before the second President Bush was in office."

      ahhh...also known as the Clinton administration. Can we please just state the point without the cute language?
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The two (Michigan and Ohio) senators aren't taking issue with Korean products here in the U.S., they simply think it's unfair that South Korea has a moratorium on importing any vehicles into the country. The senators want American companies to have the opportunity to do business on the peninsula . . . "

      Sounds fair to me. The only thing now is for automakers in Detroit to step up their game and build quality products to meet the challenge of competing with foreign companies on their home court.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They are already doing so.

        The thing is, if the tariffs weren't so high, American cars would most likely be a hit in Japan (Japanese love anything American...look at the huge following of Chevy Astro fans over there). Not sure how S. Korea would take reasonably priced American cars.

        But I definitely agree.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That One Person: "The thing is, if the tariffs weren't so high, American cars would most likely be a hit in Japan (Japanese love anything American...look at the huge following of Chevy Astro fans over there). Not sure how S. Korea would take reasonably priced American cars."

        What are the tariffs in Japan? Oh right, they are ZERO PERCENT. Go on the WTO website and look it up if you don't believe me. American cars DON'T do well in Japan so don't pretend they do. I've been there so many times and you rarely see American cars except in tiny niche markets. Why? B they absolutely don't fit Japanese tastes. Many cars sold in Japan are actually boxy Nissan Cube clones and the American automakers never adapted to that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Next, this is just Stupid. What next,President Obama my socks are to big,seriously.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Koreans are the ONLY manufacturer keeping cost in line.
      U S Consumers are getting priced out of the market & these ahos want to punish them. Sick.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Only an idiot would be opposed to opening up closed markets to American goods.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Buicks doing fine in China has nothing to do with Koreans. I'm a Korean and went to school in Canada for a good amount of time, but American cars just don't fit the taste of Korean consumers. 8% tariff for import cars is not the main problem here. Ford Taurus is already competitive enough for its price cheaper than well equipped Kia Amanti. For those who have compared KDM Hyundais and Kias with export models(doesnt matter what country), it's obvious that KDMs are equipped with better convenience features even if it has a smaller engine than USDMs. I personally like American cars but they need to focus on how Korean market is different from theirs(and they seriously need to stop sharing parts like buttons and steering wheel)

      Aside from the aforementioned convenience features, one big reason why GM Daewoo cars don't sell as well as Hyundai-Kia cars is that its gear ratios are focused more on highway driving, and Korean fuel economy ratings are based more on city driving. People who like and know about cars understand the different characteristics of fuel economy related to gear ratios but average consumers only care about the official fuel economy rating.
      • 4 Years Ago
      to be true i believe fools only think " the free trade agreement make more American goods available in the global market."

      Reason : Value of money is high on American dollar so the import of American good will cost more than local production. But on the other side business make a lot money on export of local goods to American market because labor is cheap and living standards also.

      So free trade agreements will make American living standard same as under developed countries because till the living standards reach and equilibrium, goods only will flow from one side to other ( to America ).
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think many people still believe the myth that free trade benefits the U.S as a whole, that's just a hangover from the lie our elected leaders sold us to get the agreements passed. You don't have to be an economist to know this, a simple look at history shows the obvious. Free trade was passed at the behest of business leaders and to the detriment of the common worker and if you look at the economic situation today you'll see it's done exactly what it was designed to do. It is no accident that the American worker is in the position he is in, nor is it an accident that manufacturing has all but disappeared in this country. To rail against Korea when your own state has shipped hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas is rather disingenuous IMO. This is merely a rather obvious attempt to cash in on xenophobic nationalism so that the peasants don't look too closely at the true cause of their woes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        i am not talking on the korea only, its about normal free trade stuff . the free trades should be across similar economies ( ex: US Canada , European Union etc ).
      • 4 Years Ago
      China did not get $50 billion selling Buicks... Buick, a foreign company which treats their workers much more fairly than Chinese companies do.

      They got $50 billion because businesses in China pay their workers almost nothing and sell their products overseas in order to make large profits, and the corporate corruption exists to such a high degree that even though the mafia-like Chinese government is trying their best to limit corruption they can't succeed because they continue to turn a blind eye towards successful, wealthy Communist Party members who are those same corrupt businessmen.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We'll get fair trade about the time hell is thawing out; in other words, after it has frozen over.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Korea did their part and started buying American Beef instead of Australian. If this goes through, Korea will probably stop buying lots of other American products other than cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like they afraid of GM and Chrysler getting bankrupt again and eventually extinct.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Translation:

      Our incompetence has lead us to using the government to allow us to regain competitiveness. Meanwhile we will release a turboed Cadillac SRX that gets worse fuel economy than a Santa Fe and isn't faster at the same time. Let's also not forget that the Caddy requires premium while the Hyundai doesn't.



      Personally I demand that a premium offering give me something more than exterior chrome and nice interior to attempt to justify the 2X price tag. It's called engineering. Something that even Honda used to do not too long ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thats funny my SRX doesnt require premium fuel, what are you living in the 90's? They did away with that. All my previous cars actually held up over the years, sure things went wrong, but have you ever seen a 5-7 year old Kia, they bring a whole new meaning to "rust bucket, POS"

        Its not about our govermnet protecting us, its about fair trade. How can people not get this even a 3 year old gets it. IF I give you something should I get something in return, I mean the nature of what were doing here is TRADING. Sure call the Big 3 uncompetitive, but at least let them try they're not even getting a chance to.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This comment FTW!
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