The History of Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Company was established in 1967, and the company's first model, the Cortina, was released in cooperation with Ford Motor Company in 1968.

Hyundai wanted to develop their own car and hired George Turnbull in February 1974, the former Managing Director of Austin Morris at British Leyland hired five other top British car engineers to develop the first Hyundai which was called the Pony. This was released in 1975. It combined Italian style courtesy of Giorgio Giugiaro of ItalDesign and Japanese production provided by Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors.

Hyundai began exporting the car in 1976 and entered the British market in 1982. In their first year just under 3000 units were sold.



In 1984, Hyundai began exporting the Pony to Canada and it’s sales greatly exceeded expectations, and it was at one point the top-selling cars on the Canadian market. In 1985 Hyundai reached the milestone of one million Hyundai’s being built .

This was followed by the entrance into the U.S. market in 1986 where Hyundai would go on to have its Excel model nominated as "Best Product #10" by Fortune magazine due to its affordability and design.

In 1988 Hyundai began to produce models with its own technology beginning with the midsize Hyundai Sonata.


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The company reached the 4 million production milestone as it maintained its growth in the spring of 1990. By the following year Hyundai was completely technologically independent producing all elements of its models internally. In 1996 production expanded with the establishment of Hyundai Motor India Limited near Chennai, India. 

In 1998, Hyundai decided to rebrand its image and establish itself and the world class brand we know today. Hyundai invested heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of its vehicles. This included the addition of the extended warranty to all vehicles in addition to aggressive marketing campaigns worldwide. 



Since then Hyundai has established itself as one of the top 100 most valuable brands worldwide. It’s marketing partnerships with the FIFA World Cup has showcased this since becoming one of the official sponsors in 2002.

More recently in 2014, Hyundai started an initiative to focus on improving vehicle dynamics in its vehicles and hired Albert Biermann, former Vice President of Engineering at BMW M to direct chassis development for Hyundai vehicles; stating "The company intends to become a technical leader in ride and handling, producing vehicles that lead their respective segments for driver engagement."

This has proven very accurate as the Hyundai has become one of the most popular motor brands in the Irish market with the latest Hyundai Tucson model becoming of the countries best- selling vehicles.

Innovation has played a key role in this, with the motor industry edging closing to electric Hyundai offers majors choice across its range of vehicle with hybrid, electric, petrol and diesel options across each vehicle segment from the i10 to SantaFe. The modern day Hyundai maintains its affordability roots while also embracing its modern design and technological prowess with the latest edition to the range the all new 2021 Hyundai Bayon paying the way for the modern SUV. The new Bayon is the small-on-the-outside, big-on-the-inside crossover SUV that is designed to make a lasting impression.

Packed with loads of smart tech like best-in-class safety and connectivity features – and efficient powertrains available with a 48V mild hybrid system.


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With its rich history behind it, Hyundai currently operates the world's largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea which has an annual production capacity of 1.6 million units. The company employs about 75,000 people worldwide.

Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries through 5,000 dealerships and showrooms including Connolly’s Hyundai Galway. For more information about our wide range of Hyundai models visit www.connollys.ie/hyundai 

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