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Hyundai Motor Company
More than a Ford Subsidiary
Hyundai motor company was created in 1967 as a subsidiary of Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company. The founder, Chung Ju-Yung, was a self made man who came from a poor farming family in North Korea. Ju-Yung was a true entrepeneur, starting up businesses in rice, military truck repair and a highly successful ship building company.
In 1968, Hyundai and Ford signed a technology-share agreement and the following year, Hyundai’s first vehicle, the Cortina, was created. That was quickly followed by the Pony model which, in 1975, was the first Hyundai to be shipped overseas.
The 1986 Excel wss the first model to be marketed in the US and was a huge success with sales reaching over 100,000 in less than a year. The popularity of this model was largely due to its inexpensive price tag and the fact that at that time most other automobile manufacturers had neglected the entry level model, leaving the field open to Hyundai.
The Hyundai Sonata was the company’s first mid-seize production vehicle. Sales suffered around 1988 when this model was launched due much in part to issues in quality control and reliability.
The company made a strong push to regain its lost market and spent significant amounts of money revamping their design and technology divisions. The effort paid off and Hyundai was once again re-established as a top automobile manufacturer. Part of that success was owed to how Hyundai handled the reliability issues that had plagued them. They began to offer a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty on all their new vehicles sold in the US. This quickly paid off and Hyundai soon hit the top 10 list of leading car manufacturers in the world.
Hyundai’s newer lineup includes the SUV models, the Sante Fe and the Tucson, and the sporty Tiburon which was produced until 2009.
The company also has a research center, the Namyang Technology Research Center, which boasts a complete testing facility, almost 3 mile test track and a aeroacoustic wind tunnel. To date, Hyundai has a total of eight globally located research centers. Current projects include solar powered vehicles.
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