When Hyundai Motor Company was founded in 1967, its goal was to provide customers a high level of performance at an affordable cost. Today, the company has a full line of vehicles – subcompact, sport utility, luxury sedans – that are sold in 190 countries. But how did the company get to where it is today? Here’s everything you need to know about Hyundai – its past, present, and future.
Chung Ju-Yung was born in 1915 to a peasant farming family in North Korea. At the age of 18, he began his search for a better life in Seoul. He wasn’t very successful at first, working various jobs in construction and bookkeeping. In 1938, Ju-Yung had his first entrepreneurial success when he opened his own rice store. He was forced to close about a year later because of the policies of the Japanese occupation forces.
With the freedom of Korea in World War II came new success for Ju-Yung. He went into business repairing trucks for the U.S. Armed Forces and later started what would become the largest shipbuilding company in the world. He founded Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. in 1947. Hyundai Motor Company was established in 1967. Ju-Yung and Hyundai are credited for making Korea an economic powerhouse.
In 2001, Ju-Yung passed away. During his final years, he focused his efforts on reuniting North and South Korea. He hoped to establish communications between the two governments as well as the people of both countries. His acts of kindness and his commitment to the reunification are considered Ju-Yung’s greatest achievement.
The Logo and The Name
The word “Hyundai” comes from the Korean word for modernity. Hyundai’s logo may look simple, but it has a lot of meaning behind it. The font used with the company’s logos is a custom typeface, meaning it’s entirely original and unique to them. The text in the logo is a particular shade of blue, which is meant to represent excellence, supremacy, and trustworthiness. The company’s symbol is a shade of silver, which it believes stands for perfection, creativity, and sophistication.
The shape of the Hyundai symbol is an oval-shaped design with the letter “H” in it. The “H” obviously stands for Hyundai, but the oval shape supports the company’s global expansion. But why is the “H” slanted? It’s supposed to symbolize a handshake of trust between the company and the customer.
Coming To America
Hyundai sold its first car in the United States in 1986. It entered the market at a time when other manufacturers were focusing their efforts on high-end vehicles. Hyundai was able to provide vehicles that met the essential needs and economic means of buyers such as college students and young families.
The first model Hyundai brought to America was a subcompact Excel model, and in just seven months, the company sold 100,000. Sales continued to soar despite Hyundai only having a presence in 31 of the 50 states. After the growing success of the Excel, Hyundai expanded their reach in America by focusing on the central portion of the country, opening a regional office near Chicago.
Today, the company, nationally headquartered in California, has more than 800 dealerships across the nation and accounts for more than 2 percent of the U.S. auto market. It has four regional offices in New Jersey, Texas, Georgia, and Illinois, as well as a parts-distribution center in New Jersey. It has several port facilities along the East and West coasts and an assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama.