Hyundai Canada History
Hyundai has always had a great relationship with Canada. During one of the biggest periods of the company’s growth, putting Hyundai cars for sale in Canada helped them expand and start down the path to becoming the number one selling car in the country.
At the beginning, Hyundai wasn’t a car company. They were originally founded in 1947 when they were incorporated by Chung Ju-Yang as the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company. Their goal? To focus on rebuilding and industrializing Korea after the war.
At that time, history had other plans. Because of the North Korean Invasion of 1950, Chung Ju-Yang had to abandon this project. He didn’t give up, though, and kept doing whatever work he could do to make improvements, doing work for the Korean Ministry of Transportation and the United Nations. Eventually, Hyundai Motor Company was born in 1967.
In cooperation with the Ford Motor Company, Hyundai produced its first car in 1968 when it introduced the Cortina. After that, Hyundai realized the value of a place in the car industry and set out to develop their own car. Chung Ju-Yang brought on George Turnball to help create a plan.
Turnball brought on other top British automotive engineers and they all got to work. The Hyundai Pony was produced in 1975 and became South Korea’s first mass-produced vehicle. It featured a Mitsubishi powertrain and Italian design. The Pony was the beginning of Hyundai as a successful car manufacturer whose success spread through South Korea and then throughout the world.
Exporting the Pony to Canada was part of a major part of the company’s growth. In fact, Hyundai dealerships had sales that were even higher than they imagined. By 1985, the Pony was the top-selling car in Canada. In part because of its popularity, Hyundai manufactured on million cars in only 10 years.
The next major milestone was the introduction of the Excel. This was a redesigned version of the Pony. One of the biggest improvements they made was to lower the carbon emissions. This change was key to their growth because their cars could now pass emissions inspections in the US, allowing Hyundai to drastically expand their market.
The Rise of Hyundai
Hyundai made a shift in 1988 when they began designing cars using their own innovations. This led to the development of the Sonata, a hugely popular mid-size model around the world.
In 1989, Hyundai expanded into Canada beyond more than just selling cars there. Hyundai Auto Canada Inc started a plant in Bromont, Quebec where they do stamping and assembly. They plant was supposed to produce 2000 cars a week, but the company soon hit a few snags that caused the plant to close after only 4 years.
After decades of growth, Hyundai soon began having some trouble. Quality began to suffer and the brand began getting a lot of customer complaints about reliability. Their reputation took a hit and they lost a lot of ground in their American operations. True to the spirit of Chung Ju-Yang, the brand didn’t give up. They continued to forge ahead and make needed improvements in both design and technology. They began rebuilding their reputation and began producing reliable, quality vehicles again and by 1998 had regained their reputation.
To prove that they’d made a turnaround, Hyundai developed a strategy that would end up making them one of the world’s foremost car manufacturers. They began offering a 10-year warranty to all vehicles sold in the US. Few companies give a warranty like this and it really changed the game for Hyundai and made used Hyundai cars a really safe buy.
They continued to innovate and produced popular models like the Santa Fe, Sonata, and Elantra. In 2012, the Elantra was named the North American International Car of the Year. One of their best achievements was in 2013 when the introduced the Genesis that went on to be ranked number one in the US Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.
Hyundai grew of be one of the top 5 manufacturers in the world and owns the largest car manufacturing plant in the world where they produce more than 1.5 million vehicles yearly. Today, combining sales of Hyundai used cars and new models, sales exceed 760,000 every year in the US alone and about 130,000 every year in Canada.
Over the course of its growth, Hyundai has had a lot of setbacks, but they never gave up. Even at their lowest point when plants were closing and sales were dropping, they continued to fight for more. Through determination and innovation, they created products that they stood behind. They believed in their products so much that they started offering a 10 year warranty. It might not be surprising to learn that they still offer a 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty today.