The name Hyundai is familiar to all Indians. The success of the South Korean automaker in the Indian market might mistake some for Hyundai being an Indian brand. The name Hyundai stands for modernity in the Korean language. Likewise, Hyundai never fails to deliver modern vehicles. In fact, Hyundai’s motto ” New Thinking. New Possibilities” is evident in the modern Global Line up. Let’s take a look at the adventurous journey in the history of Hyundai, the Korean automaker to become one of the greatest automotive manufacturers in the world.

History of Hyundai: The Inception

Hyundai was founded by an entrepreneur named Chung-Ju-Yung in the year 1947. The small engineering and construction company was formed with the sole purpose, which was to help South Korea revive from the aftermath of World War II. In the year 1967, the automotive brand Hyundai Motor company was formed.


Hyundai completed the construction of its first automotive manufacturing plant. The Ulsan plant is located in the southeastern region of South Korea. Hyundai Cortina was the first production vehicle to roll out of this plant. The Cortina was a result of Hyundai’s collaboration with Ford motor company. The success of this car paved the road ahead for Hyundai’s unstoppable journey in the automotive sector.


The Hyundai Pony came out in the year 1976. This car was a game-changer as South Korea’s first passenger car.

This care created a huge impact in the country as the first mass-produced car. Italian designer Giorgio Giugiaro styled the Pony and British engineers did most of its development. The power output from the 1.2-litre Mitsubishi engine made the car a huge success in Korea and later on in international markets.


Hyundai started growing rapidly during the 80s. In the year 1986 Hyundai surpassed one of its biggest milestones by entering the USA. It was a difficult task to enter the U.S market but Hyundai accomplished the challenge with great success.


Hyundai pony was a great success in the international market. the cost-efficient alternative passenger car became the best-selling imported car of 1986. Hyundai decided to stop producing the Pony when the Accent came out in 1994.


The South Korean manufacturer entered India in 1996. Hyundai was all set to create shifts in the Indian automotive sector. The state of Tamil Nadu saw Hyundai India’s first plant. Meanwhile, the other manufacturers producing vehicles in India were Maruti Udyog Limited (now Maruti Suzuki), Hindustan Motors, Premier Automobiles Limited, TELCO (now Tata Motors), and Mahindra & Mahindra.


Hyundai started its endeavour in India with the iconic Santro. Launched on September 23, 1998, Santro quickly became India’s favourite hatchback of the time.  This led Hyundai to become the second-largest automotive manufacturer in the country.

Iconic Hyundai cars

Hyundai i-10   

History of Hyundai

The first-generation Hyundai i10 was launched in 2007, The i10 is one of the best-selling hatchbacks in the Indian market. The i10 is now available as Hyundai Grand i10, Grand i10 NIOS, and a sedan derivative called Hyundai Aura.

Hyundai Sonata 

History of Hyundai

Named after the musical term Sonata. the luxury sedan was first launched in the year 1985. However, the lack of demand made Hyundai withdraw the car from its popular lineup. Although the Sonata was not a huge success in India. It was sold between 2001 and 2005 in India. The sedan had a huge demand in the international market.

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson was first launched in 2004. Pronounced as Tu-son in Korean. The mid-size SUV is a premium model to Santa Fe and above Creta in the Indian market. as a matter of fact, in several European countries, Tucson is called the Hyundai ix35. Tucson has not been a successful model in the segment unlike other cars from Hyundai. Although Hyundai is planning to launch an updated edition of Tucson next year. 

Hyundai Santa FE 

This was the Korean manufacturer’s first Multi-purpose SUV. The aggressive styling and reliable performance made the SUV stand out from its competition. It was sold between 2011 and 2014 in India. The new generation of Santa Fe comes under Tucson. 

Hyundai Kona EV

The Kona EV is the first fully electric EV by Hyundai. The Kona EV first came out in the year 2019 and the new electrification policy has added a boost in the sales of the EV in the Indian market.

Hyundai will be releasing a New facelift of the Kona EV sometime soon. The Updated version will feature the latest technologies like ADAS and an enhanced battery pack.

The Success of the Korean automaker in India is seen in the two state-of-the-art manufacturing units located in Tamil Nadu. currently, Hyundai produces 6,30,000 vehicles in a year and are ranked amongst the most advanced production facilities in the country. Hyundai has been on top of the chart in vehicle sales for many years. In fact, models like Creta, Venue, and i20 are the best-selling models in their segment. 

Amazed by the history of Hyundai? Let us know in the comments sections as to which carmaker’s history you would love to know next.

Also, read:

The Evolution of the Indian Automobile History

Hindustan Contessa: The very first Indian Muscle car