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The Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) (KSE: 005380)(LSE: HYUD), a division of the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, is South Korea's largest car maker. It is also the world's seventh largest car maker and operates the world's largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea. The Hyundai logo, a slanted, stylized 'H', is symbolic of two people (the company and customer) shaking hands and its official slogan is "Drive your way".

Hyundai means "modernity" in the Korean language.


Chung Ju-yung founded the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company in 1947. Hyundai Motor Company was later established in 1967. The company's first model, the Cortina, was released in cooperation with the Ford Motor Company in 1968. In 1975, the Pony, the first Korean car, was released, based on Japanese engine technology from Mitsubishi and a chassis related to the Morris Marina. It was exported starting the next year.

In 1986, Hyundai began to sell cars in the United States, and the Excel was nominated 'Best Product #10' by Fortune magazine, largely because of its affordability. The company began to produce models with its own technology in 1988, beginning with the midsize Sonata.

Starting in 1998, Hyundai began to overhaul its image in an attempt to establish itself as a world-class brand. Chung Ju Yung transferred leadership of Hyundai Motor to his son, Chung Mong Koo in 1999. Hyundai's parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, invested heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of its vehicles. It added a 10-year or 100,000 mile warranty to cars sold in the United States and launched an aggressive marketing campaign.

Hyundai is now the fastest-growing auto brand in the United States and in 2004, it was ranked second in initial quality in a survey/study by J.D. Power and Associates. Hyundai is now one of the top 100 most valuable brands worldwide. Since 2002, Hyundai has also been one of the worldwide official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup.

In 2006, the South Korean government initiated an investigation of Chung Mong Koo's practices as head of Hyundai, suspecting him of corruption. On April 28, 2006, Chung was arrested, and charged for embezzlement of 100 billion won ($106 million USD), with Hyundai Vice Chairman and CEO, Kim Dong-jin taking over as head of the company.


In 1998, after a shake-up in the Korean auto industry caused by overambitious expansion and the Asian financial crisis, Hyundai acquired rival Kia Motors. In 2000, the company established a strategic alliance with DaimlerChrysler and severed its partnership with the Hyundai Group. In 2001, the Daimler-Hyundai Truck Corporation was formed. In 2004, however, DaimlerChrysler divested its interest in the company by selling its 10.5 percent stake for $900 million.

Hyundai has invested in manufacturing plants in the North America, China, India, and Turkey as well as research and development centers in Europe, North America, and Japan.

In 2004, Hyundai Motor Company had $57.2 billion in sales in South Korea making it the country's second largest corporation, or chaebol. Worldwide sales in 2005 reached 2,533,695 units, an 11 percent increase over the previous year. Hyundai has set as its 2006 target worldwide sales of 2.7 million units (excluding exports of CKD kits).

Hyundai motor vehicles are sold in 193 countries through some 5,000 dealerships and showrooms.

Hyundai in the United States

Hyundai entered the United States market in 1986 with only one model, the Hyundai Excel, offered in a variety of trims and bodystyles. That year, Hyundai set a record for selling the most automobiles in its first year of business in the United States compared to any other car brand, a staggering 126,000 vehicles.

Initially well received, the Excel's faults soon became apparent. Also, efforts to bring costs down made reliability suffer. With an increasingly poor reputation for quality, Hyundai sales plummeted, and dealerships began abandoning franchises. At one point, Hyundai became the butt of many jokes and even made David Letterman's Top Ten Hilarious Mischief Night Pranks To Play In Space: #8 Paste a "Hyundai" logo on the space shuttle.

Rather than drop out of the world's largest automotive market, the parent company of Hyundai began investing heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of its vehicles. It added a 10-year or 100,000 mile warranty to its vehicles sold in the United States. Over time, both quality and sales dramatically increased, and the reputation of Hyundai cars improved. In 2004, Hyundai tied with Honda for initial brand quality in a survey/study from J.D. Power and Associates, for having 102 problems per 100 vehicles. This made Hyundai second in the industry, only behind Toyota, for vehicle quality. The company continued this tradition by placing third overall in J.D. Power's 2006 Initial Quality Survey, behind only Porsche and Lexus.

Hyundai continues to invest heavily in its American operations as its cars grow in popularity. In 1990, Hyundai established the Hyundai Design Center in Fountain Valley, California. The center moved to a new US$30 million facility in Irvine, California in 2003, and was renamed the Hyundai Kia Design and Technical Center (Kia is a sister brand of Hyundai). Besides the design studios, the facility also housed Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI, established in 1986), a subsidiary responsible for all engineering activities in the U.S. for Hyundai. Hyundai America Technical Center moved to its new 200,000-square-foot, $117 million headquarters in Superior Township, Michigan (near Ann Arbor) in 2005. Later that same year, HATCI announced that it would be expanding its technical operations in Michigan and hiring 600 additional engineers and other technical employees over a period of five years. The center also has employees in California and Alabama.

Hyundai America Technical Center completed construction of its Hyundai/Kia proving ground in California City, California in 2004. The 4,300-acre facility is located in the Mojave Desert and features a 6.4-mile oval track, a Vehicle Dynamics Area, a vehicle-handling course inside the oval track, a paved hill road, and several special surface roads. A 30,000-square-foot complex featuring offices and indoor testing areas is located on the premises as well. The facility was built at a cost of $50 million.

Hyundai completed an assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama in 2004, with a grand opening on May 20, 2005, at a cost of $1.1 billion. It is Hyundai's second attempt at producing cars in North America (The Hyundai Auto Canada Inc. plant in Quebec closed down in 1993). At full capacity, the plant will employ 2,000 workers. Currently, the plant assembles the Hyundai Sonata and the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe.

In 2005, Hyundai pioneered a communications breakthrough by allowing Ed Voyles Hyundai in Smyrna, Georgia to become the first "deaf friendly" dealership in the entire world. The staff in this dealership are able to accommodate deaf customers with the use of American Sign Language and video conferencing phones.

Hyundai in the UK

The current Hyundai lineup in the UK consists of the Amica (city car, 5 door hatchback, which is due to be replaced by the i10, based on the Kia Picanto), the Getz (supermini, 3 and 5 door hatchbacks), the Accent (C-segment family car, 3 door hatchback only, due to be replaced by the i30 (sister car to the Kia Ce'ed) later this year), the Sonata (D-segment family car, 4 door saloon) and the Coupe. MPVs are the Matrix and the Trajet, while SUVs are the Tucson, the Santa Fe and the Terracan.

All Hyundais come with a five year, unlimited mileage warranty, the best offered by any manufacturer in the UK across its whole range. A variety of engines are available from 62 bhp 1.1 L engine of the Amica to the 3.3 L V6 with 232 bhp in the Sonata. Most models are available with diesel engines.

Hyundai in pop culture

  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Superintendant Chalmers was upset when someone stole the "H" logo off of his "dream car": a 1979 Honda Accord hatchback. So, he and Principal Skinner tried unsuccessfully replacing it by stealing an "H" logo off of a Hyundai that belonged to one of the bullies on the show.
  • In the Family Guy episode, "Mr. Saturday Knight", The Black Knight catches his girlfriend Madeleine flirting with Peter, and angrily orders her to "Go wait in the Hyundai!". Later, in that same episode, Peter was able to defeat the Black Knight in a jousting contest while Peter's friend, Mort Goldman, tows away the Black Knight's Hyundai in anger. Tom Tucker gets the Black Knight distracted when he says in the announcer booth "to the owner of a yellow Hyundai, your car is being towed."
  • In an episode of Farscape, Moya is being pursued by a Peacekeeper Raptor. When informed of the pursuer's maximum speed, John Crichton responds "The thing's a Hyundai, let's smoke 'em."
  • In a Friends episode , Rachel Green mocks Ross Geller's decision not to chip into their lottery syndicate by stating if they win, they'll all be taking their helicopters "up to the Cape" for the weekend, while Ross is left "loading up the Hyundai" (mimicking him in a slow, depressed tone).
  • Kanye West's song "Gold Digger" has the following, self explanatory lyric "I know somebody payin child support for one of his kids, His baby momma's car and crib is bigger than his, You will see him on TV Any Given Sunday, Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai"

See Also

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Hyundai Motor Company

Hyundai | Kia

Current: Accent · Elantra · Sonata · Azera / Grandeur · Tucson · Santa Fe · Entourage · Veracruz · Genesis · Genesis Coupe · Equus · Veloster

Current (Europe): Getz · Matrix · Trajet · Terracan · i10 · i20 · i30 · i40 · Equus · H1 Transporter · i800 · ix20 · ix35 · Solaris

Current (Asia-Pacific): Starex · Equus · XG · Tucson ix · Verna

Historic: Atos · Amica · XG350 · Pony · Excel · Dynasty · Lantra . Stellar · Marcia · Scoupe · Tiburon

Concept: E-Cubed Concept · Concept Genesis · QarmaQ · HCD-9 Talus Concept · HCD-10 Hellion Concept · Genus Concept · Arnejs Concept · Portico Concept · Neos-III Concept · HCD8 Concept · E3 Concept · CCS Concept · OLV Concept · HCD7 Concept · HCD6 Concept · HCD-V CrossTour Concept · NEOS Concept · HCD-III Concept · HCD-I Concept · HCD-II Concept · Euro-1 Concept · Clix Concept · Coupe Aero Concept · HIC Concept · Sante Fe Mountaineer Concept · Neos-II · HED-1 Concept · Pony Coupe Concept · i-Blue Concept · Elantra Touring ‘Beach Cruiser’ Concept · Genesis Coupe Concept · HED-5 i-MODE Concept · Santa Fe Hybrid Concept · i20 Blue Concept · HED-6 ix-ONIC Concept · BLUE-WILL Concept · Nuvis Concept · ix-Metro Concept · i-Flow Concept · Sonata Hybrid Blue Drive Concept · RB Concept · ix20 Concept

Racing: Accent WRC · Genesis PM580

Hyundai Driver Information System · Hyundai European Design Centre

Chung Ju-yung and Chung Se-Yung Corporate website independent


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