Category Archives: Hyundai History

History of Hyundai

Hyundai was founded by Chung Ju-Yung in 1947 after suffering numerous financial and business problems due to World War II. Ju-Yung started Hyundai Civil Industries and helped South Korea rebuild its transportation infrastructure.

In 1967, Hyundai Motor Company was established and in 1968, Hyundai signed a technology-share agreement with Ford, and after gaining access to Ford’s resources, the first Hyundai car was developed, the Cortina.


In 1974, Hyundai produced their first self designed and manufactured car, the Pony. It was also the first car to be mass produced from Korea, and it set a new milestone for the Korean and Hyundai’s automotive industry. The car was a great hit and Hyundai began exporting the Pony, but not to the US because it didn’t pass emission standards.


Pony’s successor Excel was built in 1985, and began selling in the US in 1986. Its small price tag was an instant hit in the US and it sold over 10, 000 units in the first seven months of sell. Excel’s affordability also earned it its place in Fortune magazine’s “10 Best Product”. The excel was also the last automobile that Hyundai produced before resorting to their own technology in 1988.


The Sonata was the company’s first all inclusive car that marked the beginning of a new era for Hyundai. not long after, Hyundai successfully developed its first proprietary gasoline engine, the four-cylinder Hyundai Alpha engine, and its own transmission. However, the sub-par quality of the sonata caused consumers to lose confidence in its brand and confidence in purchasing its products.


From 1997, we saw many changes in the Hyundai company. Hyundai underwent major restructuring and break-up following the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Most companies bearing the Hyundai name, including Hyundai Motor Company, are no longer legally part of the Hyundai Group.

In that year, Hyundai Motor also acquired Kia (Korea’s second largest automotive manufacturers) as it declared bankruptcy during the Asian financial crisis. Hyundai Motor acquired 51% of the company, successfully outbidding Ford Motor, which had portion of Kia Motor’s since 1986.


2 years before his death, Chung Ju Yung transferred leadership of Hyundai to his son, Chung Mong Koo in 1999. Since its establishment, Hyundai Motor had always been thought of as a low class automobile manufacturer company, but Chung Mong Koo wanted to overhaul its image in an attempt to establish itself as a world-class luxury brand. Chung Mong Koo invested heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of its vehicles. Sales increased once more and with them and so did the buyers’ confidence. The introduction of a 10 years or 100,000 miles warranty to US sold products secured consumers’ trust in reliability, and the aggressive marketing campaign helped boost its reputation and quickly earned itself a spot in the world’s top 10 car manufacturers.

In 2005, Hyundai built the Rüsselsheim Design and Engineering Centre in Germany, a state-of-the-art studio bringing together world-class designers and engineers. This makes it possible to design, engineer and manufacture cars in Europe, specifically for European customers.

With the introduction of its Hyundai i-range in 2007-2008, Hyundai’s popular has been ever increasing. The 2010 face-lift for the i10 and the 2012 i30 face-lift, along with the release of Hyundai Veloster brought a modern and beautifully designed lines to the appearance of Hyundai’s cars and marked the company’s new reputation for automotive styling.


On September 30, 2011, Yang Seung Suk announced his retirement as CEO of Hyundai Motor Co. In the interim replacement period, Chung Mong-koo and Kim Eok-jo (Co-Chief Executive Officer) agreed on dividing the duties of the CEO position