The era where German and Japanese cars were the only ones considered durable and dependable has passed, and car manufacturers from other countries started making names for themselves in the international automotive market.
One of the most underrated car manufacturers on the market is Hyundai. Until recently, Hyundai was considered one of the most affordable options when it comes to automotive transport. Their cars weren’t the best looking, nor were they known for their durability.
In this article, we’ll talk about Hyundai, its history, where its from, who makes them, and much more. If you’re interested in this South Korean automotive brand, keep reading.
History of Hyundai
Hyundai’s beginnings can be traced to 1947 when Chung Ju-Yung founded the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company in Korea. It was 20 years later that the Hyundai Motor Company was established. Its first model was the Hyundai Cortina which was released one year later with the help of Ford Motor Company.
Hyundai didn’t have its own model until 1975 when it released the Pony. In 1976, Hyundai started exporting the Pony to Ecuador, and quickly after to the countries of Benelux. Hyundai also entered the British automotive market in 1982.
It wasn’t before 1986 that Hyundai entered the US automotive market. The first car that Hyundai made using its own design and technology was the Sonata in 1988, and just a few years later, in 1991, Hyundai developed its own engine and transmission, making it very close to being an independent car manufacturer. In 1996, Hyundai established its subsidiary, the Hyundai Motor Company India Limited with a manufacturing facility located in Irungattukottai, Chennai, India.
The beginning of the 2000s was a turning point for Hyundai. The change started in 1999 when the founder Chung Ju-Yung gave leadership to his son Chung Mong Koo. The Hyundai Motor Group invested heavily in improving its quality, design, and overall reputation as a car manufacturer. By 2004, Hyundai was able to rank among the 100 most valuable brands worldwide.
Another big period for Hyundai happened in 2014 when Albert Biermann, a former BMW M VP of engineering, joined Hyundai and started helping it improve the handling and overall ride quality. In 2021, Hyundai announced that it achieved an increase in profits by a staggering 187%!
Who Owns Hyundai?
Hyundai is a South Korean car manufacturer that’s owned by the Hyundai Motor Group alongside Genesis Motor and Ioniq. Hyundai, as a car manufacturer owns almost 34% of Kia.
Hyundai is also known for having the world’s largest manufacturing facility located in Ulsan, South Korea, which has an annual manufacturing capacity of 1.6 million units.
Where Are Hyundai Cars Made?
Being among the top car manufacturers around the globe, Hyundai spread its manufacturing operations across 10 different countries.
Hyundai’s main manufacturing facility is located in Ulsan, South Korea. This complex is divided into 5 single manufacturing facilities working as one.
The second manufacturing facility is located in Asan, Hoseo, South Korea. This plant was established in 1996 and currently employs more than 4,000 people.
The Gwangju manufacturing facility is one of the newest additions to Hyundai’s manufacturing operations. This plant was established in 2021, in Gwangju, South Korea, and currently employs around 1,000 people.
Hyundai also has a number of manufacturing facilities outside South Korea, which include the Alabama plant in the United States, the Sao Paulo plant located in Brasil, the Nosovice plant located in the Czech Republic, the Assan Otomotiv plant located in Izmit, Turkey, the Saint Petersburg plant located in Russia, the Irrungattukottai plant in India, the Bekasi plant located in Indonesia, and a couple of joint venture overseas manufacturing facilities.
Involvement in Motorsport
Hyundai didn’t become involved in motorsports until 1998. In 1999, Hyundai revealed the Accent WRC based on the Hyundai Accent production car. The Hyundai World Rally team debuted a year later, achieving a top-10 position its very first year in Sweden.
After 2003, Hyundai withdrew from motorsports, and although it planned on returning to the stage in 2006, it didn’t happen until 2013. Hyundai returned to the World Rally stage with its newly designed i20 model and a team of enthusiastic engineers, and drivers. That year, Hyundai achieved a podium position in Mexico and a win at Rallye Deutschland.
Since then, Hyundai has been participating in the World Rally Championship.
Current Hyundai Models
Hyundai has grown into a fantastic car manufacturer from an underdog relatively quickly. This South Korean car brand currently offers a wide variety of models which include the Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Palisade, Ioniq 5, Nexo, Accent, Elantra, Sonata, and Ioniq 6.
The US market includes several SUV models as well as a few sedans. The Kona is the only fully electric model from Hyundai, however, it’s more likely that new electric models will be available soon.
The most luxurious model from the SUV line is the Palisade, which is fitted with a 3.8-liter 6-cylinder engine with 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel-drive is optional, but what makes Hyundai such a popular choice is its warranty. The standard warranty on all Hyundai models is 5 years and 60,000 miles. The powertrain is covered for 10 years, or 100,000 miles warranty, and as a bonus, 24/7 roadside assistance is available for 5 years and unlimited miles.
When it comes to sedans, the Sonata is the most premium pick from Hyundai’s model catalog. This model comes with two engine options – 1.6-liter and 2.5-liter. The N line trim is the most powerful one, and it includes the 4-cylinder 2.5-liter turbo engine that makes 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. Its design includes a simple, yet luxurious interior, and the exterior is elegant, yet aggressive enough that makes it a competitor to some of the premium brands such as Audi or BMW.
Hyundai is a South Korean car manufacturer that has stirred up the automotive market in the past couple of years. Hyundai has shown its teeth to the biggest competitors, and its clear that this car brand will further improve its standing in the market.