The Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company was founded by South Korean entrepreneur Chung Ju Yung in 1947. It wasn’t until two decades later that he established Hyundai Motor Company. The first vehicle to come out of the company was a nameplate known as the Cortina, based off the U.S. equivalent the Ford Cortina. While its beginning collaboration with Ford helped establish a consumer base, Hyundai later decided to create a vehicle of its own.
Collaborating with auto executive George Turnbull and a team of five British engineers, Hyundai set off on its journey to create a lineup of original, all-new vehicles. Korea’s very first car, the ‘Pony,’ was released to the public in 1975 with the help of designer Giorgio Guigiaro and Japanese brand Mitsubishi. The Pony was originally a four-door sedan, but the lineup eventually included three-door hatchback, estate, and even pickup truck models. The vehicle never made its way to U.S. because of new emissions standards in the 70s, but became the top-selling vehicle in Canada.
The first Hyundai nameplate to make its U.S. debut was the Excel in 1985, but Hyundai continued to expand its wares, adding vehicles to its portfolio such as the value-packed Hyundai Sonata. The company was not content to rest, however; tired of outsourcing their motors, Hyundai began innovating and developing new engines by 1993, followed by transmissions as well.
After Chung Ju Yung passed the company to his son Chung Mong Koo in 1999, the company began to make strides in the American market, launching new ad campaigns and offering the brand’s now-famous 10-year/100,000-mile warranty. Innovations in Motorsports, high-ranking numbers in global sales charts, and award-winning dependability have set Hyundai apart from the competition in the modern era. The company continues to expand and progress in its research, technology, and products, providing consumers with the latest the industry has to offer at an affordable price.