|Chosun Ilbo's 'Dicknose Americans'|
The Volt, of which only 300 have been sold, is about the same size as a Hyundai Avante, but despite this it costs much more, is less fuel efficient on longer trips, and is not Korean. The decision to snub the superior Avante - a true people's car which was named after the newspaper of the Portuguese Communist Party - was typical of those 'dicknose Americans' according to The Chosun Ilbo, although later it removed the wording while leaving the accompanying cartoon intact.
Apparently fearful of falling foul of Korea's new but extremely weak laws on racial hatred, the Chosun Ilbo later claimed the image merely 'exaggerated racial features', which is perfectly acceptable in Korea as long as it isn't done by foreigners against Koreans. The comic book, which has a circulation of over 2.2 million, regularly prints news articles alongside its anti-foreigner cartoons in order to be classed as a serious media organization in Korea for tax and political purposes. However, the Chosun Ilbo hasn't always maintained an anti-foreigner editorial line, as it collaborated closely with the Japanese military forces who brutally occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945. If South Korea ever becomes a U.S. State, which the little-read left-wing Hankyoreh newspaper maintains will be President Lee Myung-bak's next big policy announcement, the Chosun Ilbo is expected to suddenly become a pro-American mouthpiece.
A GM source at the Detroit motor show admitted that Chevrolet does not intend to sell the Volt in large numbers, whereas the Hyundai Avante is massively popular in Korea due to the high tariffs imposed on foreign cars which mean most ordinary Koreans - or 'mundane Koreans' as they are called in Seoul's exclusive Gangnam district - can not afford to buy foreign vehicles. Conversely, the Korean government's careful manipulation of the dollar-won exchange rate ensures that Korean cars are generally cheaper than their inferior counterparts in the United States. Hyundai's Sonata for example - the winner of the 2009 Ward's Auto World Award for Best Redesigned Interior in the month of March - has sold some 202,000 cars in the U.S. and Canada.
The North American Car of the Year Award has been disproportionately won by U.S. vehicles in the past two years, causing the Chosun Ilbo to sarcastically suggest alongside its 'dicknose' cartoon that the award should instead be named the U.S. Car of the Year. However, Canada and Mexico have both said they don't care because they don't make many cars themselves anyway.
A spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade took a more diplomatic line on what is rapidly becoming known in Korea as the Hyundai Avante Snubgate Affair, saying that the Ministry hoped "that next year those dicknose Americans can rice above their petty nationalism and give the Avante the award it deserves."
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