Hyundai is a large South Korean ‘chaebol’ (conglomerate) that manufactures automobiles, electronics, ships and elevators. Hyundai Motor Company is the automaker in the group, and the most-recognised member. It was started in 1967 by Chung Ju-Yung, and its current headquarters is in Seoul, South Korea, in the largest automobile factory in the world that alone produces some 1.6 million units annually. Hyundai employs 75,000 people around the world and operates in 193 countries via 5,000-plus dealerships. The Hyundai logo is meant to symbolize a company shaking hands with its client.
Hyundai Motor went through a difficult phase following the Asian financial crisis of the late 90’s, but managed to recover and is now on a fast-growth trajectory. The company was once the butt of many jokes because of the low quality and unreliability of its car offerings, but since those bad old days, quality has greatly improved and the marque now has a reputation of cars whose quality matches and even surpasses that of the Japanese manufacturers. Their latest offerings, like the Tucson and Genesis coupe, are also seductively styled in addition to being reliable and affordable, and it’s hard for people who first see them to believe they are Hyundais. Indeed, Hyundai was placed third in a recent car initial-quality survey, beaten only by Porsche and Lexus. Chinese manufacturers are now trying to emulate Hyundai’s success- that an automobile manufacturer from an emerging economy can struggle but eventually thrive in the cut-throat auto industry.
Hyundai’s offerings in New Zealand begin with the Elantra, a compact, affordable sedan. Next up are the Getz and I30 small hatchbacks (I30 also available as a wagon). Then comes the Sonata, a successful sedan in the crucial midsize segment and the Grandeur, a large sedan better known in other markets as the Azera. The SUV market is served by the Tucson 5-seater and the handsome Santa Fe 7-seater.