The History of Hyundai
In 1947 a construction firm was founded by Chung Ju-yung under the name of Hyundai. The Hyundai construction firm will continue to grow and prosper in its home of Seoul, South Korea and would soon begin to spread into international markets located throughout Asia by 1965. In 1967 Chung Ju-yung would found the Hyundai Motor Company and Hyundai Heavy Industries in 1973. The company would continue to become a powerful multinational conglomerate but in 1997, eastern Asia would suffer a deep and recessive financial crisis that would cause Hyundai to completely reconstruct its business tactics and would end up breaking apart the Hyundai subsidiaries such as Hyundai Motor Group, , and Hyundai Development Company. These Hyundai subsidiaries would lose the legal connection to the company yet still retain the Hyundai name and be overseen by Ju-yung’s heirs. It was at the same time that would purchase their rival Kia Motors.
The Hyundai Motor Company would start work on its first model vehicle under the name of the Cortina. The vehicle was originally built by Ford and was fitted with a left-hand drive by Hyundai for the South Korean market. This would be the start of the company but Hyundai was interested in building its own vehicles from the ground up. In order to start work on production of the first mass-produced vehicle for South Korea, Hyundai hired George Turnbull from the British Leyland company in order to lead the design process. George Turnbull would then also higher five other British engineers in order to assist in the development of what would be known as the Pony. The Hyundai Pony was a compact four-door hatchback based on a front-engine rear-wheel-drive powertrain and a 1.4 L Mitsubishi engine that produced 67 bhp. The vehicle would make its debut in 1974 at the Turin Motor Show and soon start sales late 1975. The vehicle would start exporting to several different countries including the UK. The Hyundai Pony would continue to add more countries to its exports in the years to come including Belgium and the Netherlands and continue in its first generation till 1982.
For the second generation Hyundai Pony the company began exporting to Canada which was well received and although they tried to introduce the vehicle in the United States it failed to pass emissions regulations. Hyundai, with the release the Excel hatchback and four-door model that was front-wheel-drive would be accepted for importation by the United States and added starting price under $5000 would nearly sell 170,000 vehicles. The Hyundai Excel which was also rebadged as a Mitsubishi Precis started out with very strong sales but soon became stagnant in sales as many of vehicles were affected by reliability issues. Because of the reliability issues with the Hyundai Excel the company experienced several of its dealerships closing down as well as distrust in quality by the general public causing the company to rethink their strategy on automotive design. The introduction of Hyundai Motor Finance Company in 1990 would help increase sales due to the new line of credit for customers. The Hyundai Motor Company would start investing heavily in research and design in order to overhaul the company’s image. One of the most noted changes that Hyundai would make it the auto industry would be the industry-leading powertrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles that would help regain public opinion and trust in the company.
The company would start investing in American operations by opening what is now known as the Hyundai Kia Motors Design and Technical Center and Hyundai America Technical Center the largest facility Hyundai would introduce would be their 1600 acre auto assembly plant. In 2002 Hyundai would invest $1.1 billion in auto assembly plant in order to produce vehicles such as the Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe. The assembly plant would be located in Montgomery Alabama and open in 2005 placing over 2000 Americans to work which would also help improve public opinion for Hyundai. The factory is set to produce as many as 300,000 vehicles annually.
The years to come Hyundai received several accolades from auto testing and quality ranking businesses. With Hyundai placing in some categories in the top three for quality and customer satisfaction as well as expanding lineup of vehicles offered started to significantly boost sales for the company. Today in the world and employees over 80,000 individuals worldwide. The company now sells nearly 4,000,000 vehicles annually throughout 193 countries via 6,000+ dealerships. Hyundai also has the world’s largest auto manufacturing facility located in Ulsan, South Korea. Today in the US market Hyundai now offers 12 different models of vehicles several different variations as well as one Hyundai Sonata hybrid. Hyundai continues to gain reputation amongst car buyers as they continue to offer strong warranties such as the lifetime warranty for the battery pack in the Hyundai Sonata hybrid. Hyundai is working in conjunction with LG in order to produce lithium-ion polymer based batteries. The first working prototype is known as the Hyundai BlueOn and according to the company they have invested a total of over $30 million and will continue to look into alternative fuels and energy.