In an unprecedented move, Korea’s automotive journalists have awarded their 2013 Korea Car of the Year award to a foreign automaker.
The Toyota Camry won the coveted prize for 2013, taking Korean automaker Hyundai by surprise.
Since the Korea Car of the Year award was started in 2010 by the Korea Automobile Journalist Association, Korean brands had taken top prize each year. Kia Motors’ K5 won in 2011 and in 2012 it was Hyundai’s i40 that was crowned car of the year.
This year’s surprise win even stunned Toyota Korea, whose Prius and Lexus GS also won awards in their categories.
According to the Korea Herald, an emotional Toyota Korea president Hisao Nakabayashi reacted to the Camry’s win by saying, “We will do our best. Thank you. I feel great honour to win this award. It is really unexpected.”
No Hyundai officials attended the awards ceremony in Seoul, having been tipped off about Toyota’s big win earlier.
“We are perplexed. It would have been a lot better if a Korean brand won the top prize,” one Hyundai official told the Korea Herald.