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Han Duk-soo, the South Korean ambassador to the United States, recently urged the Detroit Chamber of Commerce to embrace increasing automotive imports from his country. Talk about a tough sell. However, the move would be part of a deal that would open South Korea to cars built in America – a market that has been notoriously protected by tariffs and other barriers. Duk-soo said that eliminating America's 2.5 percent tariff on cars built in South Korea would allow his country to do away with

As several countries vie for the top spot in the automotive rechargeable battery market, a few front-runners have emerged. Notably, China's push to lead the world in advanced battery technology has propelled the nation towards the front. The efforts here in the States have kept the U.S. in the running for top honors and you certainly can't overlook South Korea and Japan. As each country competes to rule the roost, more and more government money has been dished out to fund the advanced battery ef

2011 Hyundai Sonata – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chevrolet Camaro goes to South Korea – Click above for high-res image

This is interesting. As you cop-car fans well know, Ford recently introduced an all new Police Interceptor. After centuries decades of sticking with the body-on-frame, RWD Panther-platform Crown Victoria, Ford made the decision to go with the unit-bodied, front- or all-wheel drive Taurus chassis. They've beefed the full-size family hauler up to Herculean stature (claiming that it can withstand a 70 mph rear-end collision!) and by all accounts it should do just fine in the high speed pursuit biz.

Seoul Advanced Design Studio concept – Click above for high-res image

In September, the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology (KAIST) demonstrated the technical concept for the On Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV) using individual cars (which were really kind of cute – see them here). Today, the KAIST launched an actual prototype electric train that draws energy through non-contact magnetic charging from power strips embedded in the road. The train, with three cars, is now in use at an amusement park in Gwacheon, south of Seoul. The power strips are only require

KDM Hyundai Grandeur - click for high-res gallery

In the beginning of the decade, before SsangYong got into really deep doo-doo, the Korean automaker began work on a hybrid control unit (HCU) with German engineering firm FEV. From 2004 to 2008, as the research continued, the South Korean government provided nearly half of the financial resources for the development of the technology. In 2005, as Ssangyong's stumbles began, Chinese automaker SAIC took a majority stake in the Korean company.

GM Daewoo has four shareholders: GM, Korea Development Bank, Suzuki Motor Corporation, and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. When GM Daewoo put out a rights issue, only one of the four took the bite: GM, which made it rain to the tune of $412 million and raised its stake from 50.9% to 70.1%.

In what looks like a serious-but-probably-the-norm case of industrial espionage, General Motors' South Korean Daewoo division is reportedly alleging that the Russian automaker TagAZ has tried to copy its Lacetti sedan. Backing up those allegations are the arrests of two TagAZ engineers – former Daewoo employees who are said to have taken computer files from one company to the other. A third former Daewoo employee, an executive, left notes proclaiming his innocence and then committed suicid

2009 Hyundai Genesis Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

The long wheelbase Hyundai Equus VL500 -- Click above for image gallery

Hyundai Avante LPI Hybrid - Click for high-res image gallery

Earlier this year, when Ssangyong was allowed to continue as a going concern, the company had to let go of around 900 workers. Those workers (above) then effectively said "all your factory are belong to us," and staged a sit-in at the South Korean production facility that subsequently turned violent. Ssangyong hired its own security to try and clear the plant, but that didn't work. Now, months later, the South Korean police are reportedly set to move in.

After slipping into receivership this past January, Ssangyong Motor Company's problems have only escalated. A court-ordered restructuring of the Korean automaker earlier this year left 976 employees without work. The displaced workers organized an armed sit-in on the Korean automaker on May 21 that has now turned violent.

2009 Buick Regal (Chinese-spec) – Click above for high-res image gallery

Click above for a high-res gallery of the Chanel Fiole concept car

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