Hyundai Reviews and Road Tests

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Hyundai


The Korean car maker Hyundai was founded by Chung Ju-yung in 1947 as a construction company. Chung was the CEO and directly in control of the company until his death. Two of the best-known Hyundai subsidiaries were Hyundai Motor Company and Hyundai Heavy Industries, currently the world's largest shipbuilder. The company's first model was the Cortina, released in cooperation with Ford Motor Company in 1968. When Hyundai wanted to develop their own car, they hired George Turnbull, the former Managing Director of Austin Morris at British Leyland. He in turn hired five other top British car engineers.They were Kenneth Barnett body design, engineers John Simpson and Edward Chapman, John Crosthwaite ex-BRM as chassis engineer and Peter Slater as chief development engineer.

It would take until 1975 for the first Korean car to roll off the production line. Named the "Pony", it was styled by Giorgio Giugiaro of ItalDesign and the powertrain technology was provided by Japan's Mitsubishi Motors. Exports began in the following year to Ecuador and soon thereafter to the Benelux countries. In 1991, the company succeeded in developing its first proprietary gasoline engine, the four-cylinder Alpha, and transmission, thus paving the way for technological independence. In 1986, Hyundai exported the Pony to Canada, but not to the United States, because the Pony didn't pass emissions standards there. Canadian sales greatly exceeded expectations, and it was at one point the top-selling car on the Canadian market. The Pony afforded a much higher degree of quality and refinement in the lowest price auto segment than the Eastern-bloc imports of the period then available.

In 1986, Hyundai began to sell cars in the United States, and the Excel was nominated as "Best Product #10" by Fortune magazine, largely because of its affordability. The company began to produce models with its own technology in 1988, beginning with the midsize Sonata. In 1996, Hyundai Motor India Limited was established with a production plant in Irungattukottai near Chennai, India In 1998, Hyundai began to overhaul its image in an attempt to establish itself as a world-class brand. Chung Ju Yung transferred leadership of Hyundai Motor to his son, Chung Mong Koo, in 1999. Hyundai's parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, invested heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of its vehicles. It added a 10-year or 100,000-mile (160,000 km) warranty to cars sold in the United States and launched an aggressive marketing campaign.

In 2004, Hyundai was ranked second in "initial quality" in a survey/study by J.D. Power and Associates. Hyundai is now one of the top 100 most valuable brands worldwide. Since 2002, Hyundai has also been one of the worldwide official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup. In 2006, the South Korean government initiated an investigation of Chung Mong Koo's practices as head of Hyundai, suspecting him of corruption. On April 28, 2006, Chung was arrested, and charged for embezzlement of 100 billion South Korean won (US$106 million). As a result, Hyundai Vice Chairman and CEO, Kim Dong-jin, replaced him as head of the company. On September 30, 2011, Yang Seung Suk announced his retirement as CEO of Hyundai Motor Co. In the interim replacement period, Chung Mong-koo and Kim Eok-jo will divide the duties of the CEO position.
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Hyundai Excel

Hyundai Excel X1 and X2

1985 - 1994
The Excel was always a car with few pretensions. If getting from A to B as cheaply as possible was the only criteria of which to judge a car, then maybe the Excel would have made a case. But we could never forgive a car that is potentially dangerous – so that on any objective analysis, the Excel did not put forward a compelling case. But, for the sadists among us, it offered poor performance, sloppy suspension and bugger all comfort. More>>
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Hyundai Sonata  

Hyundai Sonata

1988 - 1993
The Y2 Sonata was part of Hyundai's expansion in North America after the success of the Excel. It was introduced in South Korea on June 1, 1988. It was then introduced in Canada in September 1987 as a 1988 model, in 1988, as a 1989 model in the United States, and in March 1989 in Australia. The exterior was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign. More>>
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Hyundai Scoupe  

Hyundai Scoupe

1990 - 1995
The Scoupe was released in 1990, a time when Hyundai were making inroads on local markets by offering cheap reliable cars, but all were pretty forgettable. The Scoupe was to be a little different, however. It was even rumoured to have been designed by Giugiaro. But, being a Hyundai, it was the cheapest coupe available in many markets. More>>
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