Should Volkswagen worry about Hyundai?

A video shows us why that seems to be the case
Sep 28, 2011

As of August 2011, Volkswagen is the world's second largest carmaker in terms of sales with 4.13 million units sold between January and June 2011, putting it right behind General Motors' 4.536 million. For the same period, Hyundai sold 1.96 million units.

Despite the 2.17 million difference, Volkswagen is showing some concern with Hyundai's continued rise to prominence based on a video taken from the floor of the recent Frankfurt Motor Show.

The video shows Volkswagen Group chief executive Martin Winterkorn meticulously inspecting a brand-new Hyundai i30. At one point, he even takes a tape measure and seemingly measures the combined lateral blind spot caused by the A-pillar and side mirrors.

What's really worth noting, however, is when Winterkorn calls over a subordinate and asks something about the i30 steering wheel's tilt and telescoping mechanism.

According to's translation of what can be heard between Winterkorn and his subordinate, the Volkswagen Group boss is asking how Hyundai can come up with a mechanism that was much more silent than what the German carmaker currently has. The subordinate's reply was that Volkswagen had a solution before but, apparently, it was too expensive.

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It looks like even European carmakers are worried about Hyundai's growing potential.

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