The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement went into force on the 15th of March, 2012. Under this agreement, and with the unanimous consent of the US Big 3 Automakers, the tariff on importing light trucks from Korea to the US would originally be phased out after five years in 2017 until it was completely eliminated in 2019. However, the deal was extended to seven years, with the 25% tariff on imported light trucks which we call the “Chicken Tax,” now being phased out beginning in 2020 until it is completely gone in 2022.

Here is the important part from Section IV from Facts About the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement:

“Korea will eliminate it’s 10 percent tariff immediately, and the 25 percent U.S. tariff will remain until the eighth year and then be phased out by the 10th year.”

So Korean imported light trucks to the US are exempt from the Chicken Tax starting in 2022. This is the reason I don’t understand why Hyundai would be launching a Tucson-based crossover pickup (CPU) in 2020 for the US when they have open season for the kind of truck Australia, South America, South Africa, South East Asia, the US, and pretty much every market in the world wants just two years later.

Unless they are building the Santa Cruz CPU as well as a global pickup truck... That, I could sort of see. But here’s the thing, Hyundai Motor Group has a ridiculous amount of things going on until 2021. Let me catch my breath, you all are about to get a Sub-Article!!!

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Kia is completely overhauling all of its military vehicles.

Hyundai is in the middle of launching its commercial vehicle lineup globally which is being lead by the Xcient.

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Hyundai Automotive Group is likely going to convert into a Holding Company structure. This is a huge DEAL!!

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The Genesis luxury brand is completely splitting off from Hyundai. That means it won’t be Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis will be a stand alone brand. There will be no Genesis is to Hyundai as Lexus is to Toyota, Cadillac is to Chevy, or even Audi is to Volkswagen. Completely separate brand! I called this move last year when I attempted to explain that Hyundai-Kia-Genesis relationship being three separate entities synergizing like no trio has ever synergized before. I guarantee Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi are taking notes.

So HMG (Hyundai Motor Group) has this entire luxury brand being created with a lineup that will be larger than Tesla or Acura’s in less than six years of even being announced as becoming a brand plus launches all over world.

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While we are on the topic of Genesis, remember that they don’t share any platforms or drivetrains with any Hyundai vehicles nor plan to. They do however share with Kia’s “premium range.” You won’t even be able to have warranty service done on your entry-level G70 sedan in a Hyundai dealership by the end of this decade. But a Kia dealer could probably service your car so it makes you wonder if it’s really a very elaborate cover for Kia-Genesis (it’s not though).

Then remember that Hyundai is launching its N Performance Brand. Hopefully it will have better luck than Infiniti’s IPL.

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Kia is creating an upmarket lineup in the Stinger, K900 successor, and future Telluride SUV (and they say Cadenza too but that’s right on the line). They are also revising the GT Line and reworking their lineup to become the benchmark on ride and handling.

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Then South Korea announced that it would revise the qualifications for its EV incentive and those revisions will go into effect this September. This means that long range electric vehicles like the Model S will enjoy a $23,000 credit off MSRP! Hyundai Motor Group has already announced they are going to bump up from two battery electric cars to eight (including a luxury long range vehicle for Genesis) plus continue building hydrogen fuel cell cars as well as expand their hybrid and plug-in hybrid offerings.

HMG just beat Honda this year and became the second largest green car producer in the world. Still way behind No. 1 Toyota though.

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The bulk of all this stuff is being done from 2015 to 2020 on top of keeping the cars already being sold competitive, working on autonomous tech, building their own transmissions (6DCT, 7DCT, possible 8DCT, 8AT, 10AT coming soon and etc.), and still trying to convince people that the cars are ok.

I mean there’s still more to type but forget that, you get the idea!

Again, all is pretty much finishing up by the end of 2020. FCA is still wondering what FCA is doing with any of their vehicles while HMG is overflowing with fresh products that are all better than the last car that just came out two month prior. And the craziest part is that all these products, no matter the scale or market, actually have a tendency to work and are praised for their quality.

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All this without any brand cache, no prestige, no hertitage, no enthusiast support, no help from other automakers, no Chinese market advantage, too few utilities, awful dealerships, and relatively little coverage from the automotive media to even let people know the breadth of brands.

Last I checked, for 2017, the list of Largest Automakers in the World went:

  1. Renault-Nissan
  2. VAG
  3. Toyota
  4. GM
  5. HMG

The fifth largest automaker in the world is actually attempting to build the things we ask for, but at the end of the day and everyday the story is the same...the badges ruin the everything.

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That’s how important branding is, kin. We know everything about the only all new Tesla coming out and nothing about the 30-plus completely new cars coming in from the Korean brands that sponsor all of our sporting events.

Kia shouldn’t have the Power to Surprise, we have the internet.