History and Journey Of Hyundai: The Biggest Car Manufacturer in the World


Hyundai is a Korean multinational automobile manufacturing company that has been a part of the global automobile industry for nearly five decades. It currently holds the title of being the third-largest automobile manufacturer in the world based on sales. Even in 2021, Hyundai managed to sell approximately 4 million (3.9 million) units of automobiles worldwide. Hyundai Motor, a pioneering force in the Korean automobile industry, offers a diverse range of 42 different models and variants of vehicles in the personal, commercial, and electric vehicle (EV) segments. People all over the world appreciate Hyundai for its reliability, attractive design, impressive performance, fuel efficiency, and affordable pricing. While Japanese brands dominate the car market in Bangladesh, Hyundai cars are also becoming increasingly popular in the brand-new car segment of the country. Similarly, Hyundai cars enjoy widespread popularity in Korea, as well as other Asian and European countries. Hyundai vehicles can be found in over 200 countries across the globe. Apart from automobiles, Hyundai Motor Group also operates in various other industries such as construction, shipbuilding, machinery, and microchip manufacturing.


Popular Product Segment of Hyundai Motors


Chung Ju-Yung, the founder of Hyundai, was born on November 25, 1915, in Asan, North Korea. He came from a farming family and had aspirations of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, due to his family’s background, he could only complete primary school. However, Chung Ju-Yung was determined to pursue a different path in life. In 1933, at the age of 18, he ran away from home and made his way to Seoul, South Korea. Initially, he planned to study accounting and enrolled in a bookkeeping school. However, his father brought him back home after just a few days. Undeterred, the following year, in 1934, he fled to Seoul once again. There, he took on various jobs for several years as a ship porter, construction worker, and clerk in a rice store. 

In 1937, when the owner of a rice shop fell ill, Chung Ju-Yung took charge of the entire operation at the age of 22. Unfortunately, in 1939, he was forced to close the shop due to pressure from the authorities. In 1940, despite lacking hands-on experience, Chung established an auto repair shop in Seoul with the help of a borrowed sum from a friend. However, once again, he faced challenges and had to close down the shop within three years due to pressure from the authorities. After Korea gained independence from Japan in 1946, Chung reopened the auto repair shop under the name Hyundai. In 1947, he founded a construction company called Hyundai Civil Industries. This company played a crucial role in developing South Korea’s major transportation infrastructure and securing government projects. During the Korean War in 1950, Chung Ju-Yung fled to Busan with his younger brother, Chung Mong-Joon. After the war, he returned to Seoul and resumed his construction company operations, contributing significantly to South Korea’s modernization. Over time, the Hyundai Group expanded its operations into various business sectors, including road construction, bridge building, port development, dam construction, shipbuilding, machinery manufacturing, microchip production, and automobile manufacturing.

According to Korea Times, in the late 1980s, there were 34 separate companies under the Hyundai Group, employing a total workforce of 160,000. However, in the 1990s, the financial crisis in Asia led to the separation of these companies, becoming independent entities. In 2001, Chung Ju-Yung, the founder of Hyundai Group, passed away, leaving behind a legacy of entrepreneurial spirit and significant contributions to South Korea’s growth and development.


Founder of Hyundai Motor

The Hyundai Motor Company

Hyundai Motor, a well-known automobile company worldwide, and began its journey in 1967 under the leadership of Chung Ju-Yung. In that same year, the company established its first car assembly plant in Ulsan, South Korea. With assistance from Ford Motor Company, Hyundai successfully built its first car, the Cortina, at this plant within just six months of its launch in 1968. The Cortina proved to be a hit in the Korean and European markets, prompting Chung Ju-Yung to pursue the manufacturing of Hyundai’s own brand of cars. To achieve this goal, Chung Ju-Yung hired George Turnbull, the former managing director of British automobile manufacturer Austin Morris, in February 1974. Shortly after joining, Turnbull recruited a team of six European chief engineers to support him, including experts in body design, chassis design, production engineering, and testing. Together, they worked on developing Hyundai’s first car, the Hyundai Pony, which was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in October of that year and officially launched for commercial sale in 1976. Designed by Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, the compact rear-wheel drive Hyundai Pony became South Korea’s first mass-produced passenger car. In 1976, Hyundai also began exporting the Hyundai Pony, initially to Ecuador and later expanding to countries like Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Egypt. From 1978, the car started to be exported to European countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and Greece. Moreover, Hyundai Motor entered the British market (United Kingdom) in February 1982, introducing the Hyundai Pony for sale to customers in the UK.

Starting in the 1980s, Hyundai Motor Company expanded its business internationally. In 1983, they established their subsidiary Hyundai Motor Canada in Canada, followed by Hyundai Motor America in the USA in 1985. During this time, Hyundai continued to design and manufacture the Pony, along with other models. In 1985, they launched the first generation of the Hyundai Sonata, a front-wheel drive car called the PONY EXCEL. That year, the company also reached a significant milestone by manufacturing 1 million cars. In 1986, Hyundai began exporting the Pony Excel to the US market, where it sold an impressive 168,000 units in the first year. This success led Fortune magazine to nominate the car as “Best Product #10” In the same year, Hyundai also introduced their first large-size luxury car, the GRANDEUR (AZERA). In 1988, they launched the Sonata model, a mid-size luxury sedan, and in 1989, their total exported car count surpassed 1 million units.


Own 51% Share of KIA

Moving into the 1990s, Hyundai shifted its focus to manufacturing various SUVs, electric vehicles (EVs), and hybrid vehicles. In 1990, they introduced the compact Hyundai ELANTRA and the 2-door coupé Hyundai SCOUPE. The company’s total vehicle production reached 4 million units. In 1991, Hyundai developed a prototype of their first fully electric vehicle, the Sonata EV. They also launched their first SUV model, the GALLOPER, that same year. Additionally, Hyundai achieved a significant milestone in engine development by creating its own four-cylinder gasoline engine prototype called the Alpha, the first of its kind in South Korea. In 1992 and 1993, Hyundai unveiled two concept car models, the HCD-I and HCD-II. They also launched the next model of the Hyundai Sonata, the Sonata II, in 1993. In 1994, Hyundai developed their first hybrid vehicle prototype, the hybrid-electric FGV-1, which was showcased at the Seoul Motor Show the following year. This vehicle introduced full-time electric drive technology for the first time at Hyundai. Alongside these new models, the company’s production volume and exports continued to increase steadily. By 1996, Hyundai’s cumulative vehicle production exceeded 10 million units. To further expand its operations, Hyundai established its first overseas manufacturing plant in Izmit, Turkey, in September 1997. During this time, they also independently developed an inline gasoline engine called the Epsilon and a high-performance engine called the V6 Delta. Additionally, Hyundai began operating in India in 1998 and acquired a 51 percent share of Kia Motors, another Korean automobile manufacturer. Throughout the 1990s, Hyundai introduced several popular models such as the Accent, Dynasty, Tiburon, Avante (ELANTRA), Grandeur, Equus, Verna, and Trajet XG.


In the year 2000, Hyundai Motor Company became an official sponsor of UEFA Euro 2000. It was a significant achievement for the company. During the same year, Hyundai also accomplished several important milestones. They developed Korea’s first fuel cell electric vehicle called Santa Fe. This was a major step forward in the advancement of eco-friendly cars. Additionally, Hyundai introduced the first passenger diesel engine and a large commercial engine. In 2001, Hyundai Motor unveiled their HCD-VI concept car at the Chicago Auto Show, showcasing their innovative designs and technologies. That year, they also launched the Santa Fe model for commercial sale in the United States. The car quickly gained popularity and earned the top spot in customer satisfaction surveys. The year 2002 marked another milestone for Hyundai Motor as they won the official sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup, which was jointly hosted by Japan and Korea. This was a significant achievement and a testament to the company’s growing reputation. In the same year, Hyundai established a Design & Technical Center in California, further expanding its global presence. They also started manufacturing Sonata model cars in China, tapping into new markets and increasing their production capabilities. By 2003, Hyundai Motor had reached an impressive milestone of exporting 1 million units annually. The following year, their cumulative exports surpassed 10 million units. This demonstrated the company’s growing success in the international market. In 2004, Hyundai Motor launched their first compact SUV, the Tucson (ix35). It became a hit in the United Kingdom, with sales of over 1,624 units by the end of the year. Continuing their upward trajectory, Hyundai Motor climbed to the 6th position in terms of global automobile production by 2006. This was a remarkable achievement, highlighting their rapid growth and increasing market share. In 2007, Hyundai released the Hyundai i30, a model designed, developed, and manufactured in Europe. The hatchback and wagon versions of the i30 gained significant popularity and established a strong presence in the European market. The next year, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech (HMMC) was established in the Czech Republic. Equipped with 500 high-tech robots, HMMC had a daily production capacity of 1,500 vehicles. This facility played a crucial role in expanding Hyundai’s manufacturing capabilities. In 2009, Hyundai introduced their hybrid electric Sonata model using lithium polymer battery technology. This innovative car garnered recognition and won the prestigious ‘North American Car of the Year’ award, which further solidified Hyundai’s position as a leader in the automotive industry. By the end of 2009, Hyundai Motor had achieved remarkable financial success, with total revenue surpassing $45 billion. This impressive figure demonstrated the company’s substantial growth and strong performance in the global market.


Total Revenue in 2009

In 2010, Hyundai made significant advancements in the automotive industry. They introduced their hybrid concept car, the HED-VII, at the Geneva International Motor Show, and also unveiled the SONATA Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show. Furthermore, Hyundai made a leap into eco-friendly vehicles by releasing its first electric car, the Hyundai BlueOn, in September. This electric car was primarily developed based on the Hyundai i10 model and utilized a 16.4 kWh lithium polymer battery pack. During the same year, Hyundai expanded its operations by establishing its own manufacturing unit in Russia. This move marked their entry into the Russian market. By the end of 2010, Hyundai achieved impressive sales figures, with a total of 3.6 million units of vehicles sold worldwide. In 2011, Hyundai Motor continued its innovative streak by launching two new models: the fifth generation of the GRANDEUR (AZERA) and the VELOSTER. These vehicles showcased Hyundai’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge designs and features. Hyundai’s dedication to sustainable transportation continued in 2013 when they released the ix35 Fuel Cell, the world’s first commercially mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. This milestone marked a significant step toward a greener future for the automotive industry. In the same year, Hyundai expanded its endeavors into motor racing by introducing the Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Championship team. This move demonstrated their passion for competitive racing and served as a platform for showcasing their engineering prowess. 2015 was a noteworthy year for Hyundai as they launched Genesis, their first premium brand. Named after the successful Hyundai Genesis sedan model released in 2008, the Genesis brand quickly gained popularity in Asia, the Middle East, America, and Europe due to its dynamic design, luxurious experience, and superior performance. Additionally, Hyundai’s Hyundai i20 model car participated in the World Rally Championship held in Sweden that year and achieved an impressive second-place finish. To further enhance its high-performance offerings, Hyundai announced the establishment of the Hyundai N sub-brand at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This sub-brand would focus on introducing the next generation of high-performance cars and serve as the platform for their Motorsport segment. Hyundai’s commitment to developing high-performance vehicles under the N brand led them to create three dedicated testing tracks at their Namyang R&D Center in 2015. These tracks provided Hyundai with the necessary facilities to thoroughly test and refine their N brand cars. As part of this initiative, Hyundai launched six new N Line models in addition to the Sonata, Veloster, Elantra, Kona, Tucson, i10, i20, i30, and i30 Fastback models. By the end of 2015, Hyundai Motor achieved impressive sales numbers once again, with nearly 5 million (4.8 million) units of vehicles sold. This success was a testament to Hyundai’s dedication to innovation, performance, and delivering vehicles that meet the needs and preferences of customers worldwide.

In 2016, Hyundai introduced the Hyundai IONIQ, the world’s first hybrid and eco-friendly car model. It quickly gained popularity worldwide due to its sleek design, performance, stability, and fuel efficiency. In fact, it received the highest fuel efficiency rating among all hybrid and combination-powered vehicles sold in the USA that year. Hyundai also launched two models under its Genesis brand, the Genesis G80 and Genesis G80 Sports, further expanding its offerings. By then, Hyundai had exported over 23.5 million units worldwide. The following year, in 2017, Hyundai introduced the plug-in hybrid version of the IONIQ model. They also unveiled the concept car Genesis GV80 under the Genesis brand. In 2018, Hyundai continued its commitment to eco-friendly vehicles by launching the second generation of its fuel-cell vehicle, the Nexo, and the world’s first compact SUV EV, the KONA Electric. In the same year, Hyundai’s total global sales exceeded 4.5 million units. However, the company experienced a slight decline in sales in 2019 (4.4 million units) and 2020 (3.7 million units) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, Hyundai rebounded in 2021 with sales reaching around 4 million units, as the company aims to regain its position among global competitors. As of now, Hyundai Motor Company offers a total of 42 different vehicle models across various segments, including SUVs, MPVs, commercial vehicles, eco-friendly models, and more. By the end of 2021, the company’s total revenue amounted to 117.6 trillion South Korean won, which is approximately $99 billion.

According to a report by Business Standard, as of the second quarter of 2022, Hyundai Motor Company has risen to the 3rd position in terms of global automobile sales. In the fiscal year 2021-22, Hyundai holds the 2nd position in the Indian automobile market with approximately 16% market share, following Maruti Suzuki. In the US market, Hyundai ranks 5th with around 11% market share. Across Europe, Hyundai holds approximately 5% market share. Hyundai Group, established in 1947, has more than 30 subsidiaries operating in various sectors, including automobiles, construction, shipbuilding, electronics, logistics, IT/software, and financial services. This conglomerate has played a significant role in driving Korea’s economic growth throughout its history.

Hyundai In Bangladesh

Fair Technology Limited, a subsidiary of Fair Group, is the exclusive distributor of Hyundai brand cars in Bangladesh. In January 2023, they established a manufacturing factory at Bangabandhu Hi-Tech Park to produce Hyundai Motor Company cars in collaboration with Fair Technologies. The factory will initially operate in one shift and manufacture a total of 3,000 Hyundai Creta SUV’s per year. Over time, production will gradually increase to 10,000 units annually. At first, the factory will import Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts and assemble them locally. This manufacturing facility will also generate approximately 300 new job opportunities.

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