Hyundai’s Genasis kicks off auto show with award

January 11, 2009

South Korea’s Hyundai is counting on Genasis to be the start of something new. The Genasis, described by Edmunds.com as a “game changer,” won the North American car of the year award at the Detroit auto show, edging the Ford Flex 189 votes to 180. 

Hyundai is counting on the Genasis as a “halo” car to lure more affluent buyers. Hyundai’s victory was the first in the award’s 16-year history for a Korean automaker.

One judge, Matt DeLorenzo of Road & Track magazine, said:

“Hyundai Genesis shows that Korean automakers have come of age. Great fit and finish, high quality interior and smooth plush ride gives the Genasis the look and feel of a much more expensive automobile. “

Ford’s F-150 pickup (left) won truck of the year, easily beating Chrysler’s Dodge Ram pickup.

Automakers typically use the awards to market their vehicles, although General Motors’ recent success has not helped the U.S. automaker avoid the pain that declining demand in America has inflicted on the sector. GM won car of the year for its Chevy Malibu last year and took both awards at the 2007 show.

The U.S. auto industry experienced its worst sales in 16 years last year with demand off 18 percent to just over 13 million vehicles.  Hyundai and Ford sales were off 14 percent and 20.1 percent, respectively.

(Photo/Reuters)

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