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The son of a rice farmer, Chung Ju Yung opened a car workshop under the Hyundai name, then a construction company, and finally in 1967 he founded the multinational, internationally operating conglomerate of South Korea.
"Hyundai" comes from Korean and stands for modernity - the company-specific leitmotiv, which is supposed to underpin global expansion to this day.
In the factory in Ulsan in Korea, Hyundai first built the Ford Cortina with the help of licenses before the company began developing its own models. Today the plant in Ulsan is the largest connected automobile factory in the world. Until the 1990s the basic technical equipment was designed on the basis of Mitsubishi's standards.
Hyundai’s first own model was called Pony and was first presented to the public in 1974 and exported abroad two years later. In the beginning of the company’s style the middle-class models Stellar and Sonata and the luxury limousine Grandeur are important. In the mid-1980s the millionth car rolled off the assembly line. Also, the takeover of the Korean car manufacturer Kia in 1998 also secured this success.
After the export to South and Central America, to some European countries, to Canada and the USA brought great success, Hyundai settled down also in Germany in 1991. Partially operating together with Kia, Hyundai expanded in three locations in Neckarsulm, Rüsselsheim and Offenbach. The vehicles for the domestic market are produced exclusively in Germany as well as in the Czech town of Nošovice.
On the German market, Hyundai started with the models Pony, S-Coupé, Lantra and has been able to increase its sales and the number of new registrations ever since. The Sport Coupé was the first car with a self-developed engine. The Hyundai Accent followed, which is to be positioned between small cars and the compact class. One cannot imagine German roads without the Accent any more. The model is also constantly being developed further. The Hyundai i30, which is now in the third generation, is also part of the compact class.
The smaller models, such as the Atos since 1997 and Getz since 2002, have been the best-selling models of Hyundai. The successor from 2010, the Hyundai i20 is again a minivan like the Atos.
Like every successful manufacturer, Hyundai has introduced models in all classes to supply demand for different drivers. Adapted to and especially designed to cover European needs, the middle class i40 was developed. The largest exported model, Genesis is also offered.
The brand’s SUVs are also causing great appearances: Three models launched in Europe: Santa Fe, Tucson and ix35, as well as a Van model, the ix20.
In South Korea, Hyundai is the largest commercial vehicle manufacturer - but in Europe the brand is still competing with other popular manufacturers. According to studies, the official sponsorship agreement for the World Cup 2006 helped the company a lot. Not only is football one of the most popular sports, but also a European country (Germany) hosted the event. However, the manufacturer also won the trust of the customers by providing five years of guarantee.
Spoiled by its success in the production and distribution of its cars, trucks and buses, the company has also been investing in motorsport the since 1998. Hyundai is also represented on the race track as well as the long-distance championship at the Nürburgring with the N-series, winning in three classes in 2016.
In the 2014 season Hyundai was back to the rally world championship, after a break of eleven years, and so far, could demonstrate its potential against VW.
The company also succeeds in establishing itself as a premium manufacturer, through the Genesis sports limousine as well as with the Vision G Coupé.