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The Complete History Timeline of Hyundai From 1967–2022

The Hyundai Motor Company is Founded.
In December, after receiving formal permits from the South Korean government, the Hyundai Motor
Company is founded.

Their First Production Car Is a Ford.

In February, knockdown production of Ford Cortinas begins in cooperation with Ford UK. In
November, their first production car, the Hyundai Ford Cortina, goes on sale.

The New Cortina Goes on Sale.
Hyundai’s production of the new Cortina Mark III begins. It is sold as the New Cortina.

Hyundai Aims for Independent Development.
In order to begin developing their own cars, Hyundai hires a team of British engineers, led by
“British Leyland’s” George Turnbull. With a body designed by “Italdesign Giugiaro,” development
moves ahead with technical support from Mitsubishi Motors.

The Pony Is Unveiled at the Turin Motor Show.
The Pony was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1974. The Pony had rear-wheel drive configuration
with a 1.2-liter 80-horsepower engine and a 4-speed manual transmission. 1.4-liter
92-horsepower engine was added as an option in late 1976.


The Pony Coupe Concept Is Unveiled at the Turin Motor Show.
The first concept car Hyundai has ever made. It is known as the source of inspiration for the De
Lorean DMC12.

The Birth of the First South Korean Domestic Car.
Hyundai begin production of the Pony, South Korea’s first domestic car. Also available as a
coupe, light van and a pickup truck, 293,936 models are produced before production stops in
December 1985.


The First Car Exported from South Korea.
Five Pony’s and one bus are sent to Ecuador, making these the first cars to be exported from
South Korea. The car sees further success after imports into Egypt and other countries.

The Granada.
The V6 Granada is introduced, a model from Ford, in Germany. At the same time, 11 ton cargo trucks
and dump trucks are sold.

Cool facts: Did you know that Hyundai is the largest car maker in South Korea?


The Pony II.
Production of the Pony II begins. It is available as a pickup or a 5-door hatchback. A 15 ton dump truck is also introduced. This year also marks further technical cooperation with Mitsubishi Motors.


Production Exceeds 500,000 Cars.
Pony production exceeds 300,000 cars. Hyundai becomes the first South Korean automobile
manufacturer to surpass 500,000 total vehicles.

The Stellar.
The Stellar is introduced. The mid-size sedan succeeds the Ford Cortina.

The Pony Takes Canada by Storm.
The Pony is exported to Canada. The car sells in record numbers, surpassing all expectations and
becoming the top-selling car on the Canadian market. The export sales total more than 1 billion

Completion of a Large Scale Assembly Plant.
Hyundai complete their first large-scale factory for the production of the Excel, the successor to the
Pony. The factory is able to produce 300,000 units per year.

The Excel Succeeds the Pony.
Hyundai’s first front-wheel drive car, it is available as a 5-door hatchback or a 4-door sedan.

The Luxurious Sonata Mid-Size Sedan Is Launched.
The new Sonata is unveiled, a mid-size sedan that has many luxurious features.

Establishment of an American Headquarters.
Hyundai Motor America is founded.

Production Exceeds 1 Million Cars.
Hyundai surpass a total of 1 million cars produced. Their export sales also break the 10 billion dollar

The Excel Is Exported to America.
The export of the Excel to the U.S. begins. It is named “Best Product number 10” by Fortune magazine for its affordable price.


Hyundai Unveil Their Luxury Model.

The Grandeur luxury car is launched. The car is used to chauffeur VIPs visiting South Korea for the
Seoul Olympics.

The Grace Minivan.
The Grace cab-over minivan is introduced, based on the 3rd generation Mitsubishi Delica.


The Porter Truck.
The Porter 1-ton truck is introduced.


The Second-Generation Sonata Is
The second-generation Sonata is unveiled. While styled by Italdesign, the car itself is independently
developed by Hyundai.


The 2nd Generation Excel.
The 2nd generation model of the Excel, the Excel X2, is introduced. It is fitted with improved versions
of the 1300cc and 1500cc Excel/Presto engines.


The Elantra.

The Elantra goes on sale. Its excellent cost-performance ratio makes it a popular model.


The S coupe.
The S coupe is released. A coupe based on the Excel platform, it is marketed as a “sports passion
car.” It is powered by Hyundai’s own Alpha engine.


The Galloper.
The Galloper SUV is launched and becomes the most popular SUV in Korea.


The First In-House Engine Is
Hyundai’s first in-house developed engine, the Alpha, is revealed. This is a liquid-cooled inline-four
gasoline engine, with an independently developed transmission.


The HCD-1 Concept.
Hyundai California Design 1 is revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.


Pikes Peak Victory
The S coupe Turbo wins the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb rally race held in Colorado, USA.


The New Grandeur.
The next generation of the Grandeur luxury car is released. Featuring several different engine options,
it becomes the most popular luxury car in South Korea.


The Sonata II.
The Sonata II debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. Over 600,000 are sold within South
Korea alone.


Unveiling of the HCD-II Concept Car.
The HCD-II concept car is an innovative concept car with a 2+1 seat configuration and unique
headlight shape. Later, its design language came to the world as the Hyundai Coupe.


Engine Development Expands.
Hyundai’s second independently developed engine, the Beta, is introduced. An inline-four
gasoline-powered engine, it is available as a 1.6L, 1.8L. or 2.0L unit.


The Subcompact Accent.
The Accent is released, succeeding the Excel in the compact car segment. It is available in 3
configurations as a 4-door sedan, a 5-door hatchback or a 3-door hatchback.


The Luxury Marcia.
The new Marcia luxury car is unveiled. The mid-size sedan is based on the Sonata II and only
sold domestically. Both the interior and exterior are given extra flourishes of luxury.


The All New Elantra.
The 2nd gen. Elantra is released. Within the South Korean domestic market, it is sold as the Avante.
The car is also made available as a station wagon in addition to the sedan model.


The Sonata III.
The 3rd generation of the Sonata, the Sonata III, is introduced. While this is a minor change and there
are no major mechanical differences, the styling is much more unique in terms of design.


The Sporty Hyundai Coupe.
The Hyundai Coupe (Tiburon in South Korea) debuts at the Geneva Motor Show. Succeeding the
S coupe as the company’s sporty coupe, the car features a more aggressive design.


The Dynasty Is Launched.

The Dynasty is introduced as Hyundai’s premium
flagship sedan, above the Grandeur. Major
improvements have been made to the
2nd-generation Grandeur.


Inauguration of the Namyang
Technology Research Center.
Namyang Technology Research Center is the heart
of Hyundai’s technology and car development.


The Hyundai Coupe World Rally
Championship Debut.
The Hyundai Coupe competes in the F2 class of
the World Rally Championship.


The Multi-Purpose Starex.
The Starex is unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
Based on the Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear, the
minivan seats 10-12 people.


The Atoz City Car.
The Atoz city car is introduced. The car’s boxy
minivan-like rear end gives it excellent storage


The Development of the Delta Engine.
The compact and lightweight Delta engine is
introduced. This is Hyundai’s first liquid-cooled V6
gasoline engine.


The 4th Gen. Sonata Is Launched.
The EF Sonata is released. The EF stands for “Elegant Feeling”. The car has been improved
greatly in terms of engineering, with features such as the double wishbone suspension enabling
greater performance.


The Grandeur Moves on to the 3rd Generation Model.
The 3rd gen. Grandeur XG is released. Based on the same platform as the smaller EF Sonata, the
car is in effect a successor to the Marcia.


The Purchase of Kia Motors.
Hyundai buys a controlling stake in Kia Motors, which had been hit by the Asian financial crisis of
the previous year. Kia begins renewal of their corporate image, following Hyundai in their efforts
to become a global brand.


The Evolution of the Hyundai Coupe.
The 2nd gen. Hyundai Coupe (Tuscani in South Korea) is introduced. The soft curves of its
predecessor are swapped for hard edges.


The Tiburon Turbulence.
The updated Hyundai Coupe is introduced, titled “Tiburon Turbulence” in Korea. The facelift includes
quad round headlights and a more powerful engine.

The 2nd-Generation Accent.
The 2nd-generation Accent (Verna in South Korea)
arrives. Available in 3 body styles, the 3-door
hatchback version is used by several teams in the
World Rally Championship.

Hyundai Trajet.
The 7-seater MPV Trajet is launched. It is also sold as the Trajet XG in the domestic market.

Hyundai Motor Group Is Launched.
Combined with Kia Motors, Hyundai Motor Group
is launched.

Participation in World Rally.
Championship with Accent WRC
The Hyundai Accent WRC debuted at the

International Swedish Rally.

The Santa Fe Is Launched.
The Santa Fe mid-size SUV is released. It is based
on the same platform as the EF Sonata. The car
initiates an unprecedented boom in the popularity
of SUVs in South Korea.

The 3rd-Gen. Elantra Arrives.
The compact Elantra sedan moves on to its
3rd-generation. Engine capacity is increased from
1.5L to 2L and is available either as either a 4-door
sedan or a 5-door hatchback.

The Matrix.
The Matrix is a 5 -seater MPV designed by Pininfarina, also called Lavita in the domestic market.

The Santa Fe FCEV.
A Santa Fe fuel cell vehicle (FCV) is revealed. This FCEV was developed in collaboration with the American fuel cell company IFC.

The Evolution of the Hyundai Coupe. The 2nd gen. Hyundai Coupe (Tuscani in South
Korea) is introduced. The soft curves of its predecessor are swapped for hard edges.


The Click Sets Its Sights on the World.
The Click compact car is released and marketed worldwide. Available with a 1.3L or 1.5L engine, it
packs both comfort and practicality in its compact body. It is sold as Getz in some markets.

Hyundai’s World Standard Premium Sedan.
The 4th-generation Sonata debuts. Developed to compete on the global market.


The First Tucson.
The compact crossover SUV, the Tucson, is introduced. Based on the 3rd-generation Elantra, it
is available with either a 2L inline-four or a 2.7L V6 engine.

The Alabama Plant Is Built.
The “Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama” plant is completed. American production of the Sonata


The 4th-Generation Grandeur.
The 4th-generation Grandeur is introduced. Often referred to by its production code, the Grandeur
TG, it is launched with a 2.7L or 3.3L V6 engine.


The 3rd-Generation Accent Arrives.
The subcompact Accent enters its 3rd-generation model. Available as either a sedan or a 3-door
hatchback, the car receives much attention for its combination of low pricing and high quality.


The 2nd-Gen. Santa Fe Is Launched.
The 2nd-generation Santa Fe debuts. Styled by the California design center, it features both a larger
body and a larger displacement engine.

6th Largest Seller in the World.
The Hyundai Group becomes the 6th largest automobile manufacturer in the world by volume.


The Veracruz.
The Veracruz is an LUV which stands for “Luxury Utility Vehicle”. It is larger than the Santa Fe and
uses a 3.0L diesel and 3.8L petrol engine

The Elantra Enters Its 4th-Generation.
The 4th-generation Elantra compact sedan is officially introduced at the New York Auto Show. It
features a slightly larger body than previous Elantra.

The i30.
Hatchback i30 is launched. It is available as a five-door hatchback or five-door estate.

The Next Generation i10 Compact Is Launched.
The i10 city car goes on sale, replacing the Atoz Prime. As with its predecessor, it is produced in
India and exported to Europe and other markets.

The 2nd-Gen. Starex Arrives.
The 2nd-generation Starex minivan is presented at the Seoul Motor Show. The new, larger Starex is
sold in markets across the world.

The Subcompact i20
The i20 subcompact is launched, replacing the 120 Click. Much like the i10, the car is produced in
Chennai, India before being exported to Europe and other markets to compete globally.

The First Genesis.
The Genesis luxury sedan is released. Hyundai’s first independently developed front-engined
rear-wheel drive car, it is positioned to rival cars such as the Lexus GS and the Infiniti M.


The First Genesis Coupe.
Hyundai’s front-engined rear-wheel drive sports car, the Genesis Coupe, is launched. It has a 2.0L
turbo or a 3.8L V6 engine.

The 2nd-Gen. Equus.
The second-generation of the Equus luxury sedan is introduced in South Korea. Using the same
platform as the Genesis, it is available with either a 3.8L V6 or a 4.6L V8 engine.

The 6th-Generation Sonata.
The 6th-generation YF Sonata is released. With a sporty coupe design, it is also made available in
GDI-turbo and hybrid models.

Hyundai’s First Hybrid.
The hybrid LPI is unveiled for the first time at the Seoul Motor Show. Derived from the 4th-generation Elantra, it is not only South Korea’s first hybrid vehicle, but the world’s first hybrid LPG-powered vehicle.

The 2nd-Generation Tucson Debuts.
The second-generation of the compact Tucson SUV is introduced. In many western markets, it is sold
as the ix35. The car is available with either front-wheel or four-wheel drive.


The Group Becomes 5th-Largest
Automobile Manufacturer in the World.

The combined Hyundai Motor Group becomes the fifth-largest manufacturer in the world by volume. It is the second-largest manufacturer in Asia behind the Toyota Group.

The 5th-Generation Elantra.
The 5th-generation Elantra is revealed at the Busan Motor Show, exhibiting Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture design philosophy. The car comes with a powerful
1.6L GDI Gamma, 1.8L or 2.0L Nu engine.

The 4th-Gen. Accent Debuts.
The 4th-generation Accent arrives, featuring the same fluidic sculpture design philosophy as the YF
Sonata. It comes with a 1.4L or 1.6L Gamma engine.


The All New Grandeur.
The 5th-generation Grandeur is released. The beautiful flowing lines of the body are designed to
give an impression of gliding majestically. It is available with a 2.2L diesel or 3.3L V6 engine.

The i30 2nd-Generation.
New i30 is launched. Now available as a 3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback or 5-door estate.

The Asymmetrical Veloster.
The sporty Veloster compact is released. It features an unusual asymmetric design, with one door on
the driver’s side and two on the passenger’s side. A turbo model is added to the lineup in 2012.

The i40.
The i40 is designed for the European market, available as a 4-door sedan and 5-door estate.

The 3rd-Gen. Santa Fe.
The 3rd-generation Santa Fe is first presented at the New York International Auto Show.

The Maxcruz.
The Maxcruz is the long-body version of the Santa Fe.

The 2nd-Generation Genesis.
The second-generation Genesis is unveiled in South Korea. The aesthetics are based on the new
fluidic sculpture 2.0 design philosophy. The updated chassis includes c-pillar quarter windows
to give the car a premium feel.


The World’s First Production of a Fuel Cell Vehicle.
The Hyundai ix35 FCEV uses a a hydrogen fuel cell.

Participation in World Rally Championship (WRC).
Hyundai returns to the World Rally Championship with the Hyundai i20 WRC. It wins 1st place in
Rally Deutschland.


Hyundai Opens the First Hyundai Motor studio.

The Hyundai Motorstudio is the brand experience zone that conveys Hyundai Motor’s experimental


The 7th-Gen. Sonata Debuts.
The LF Sonata is announced. It features the same fluidic sculpture 2.0 styling as the new Genesis.

The Aslan.
The Aslan is positioned between the Grandeur and Genesis. As Genesis becomes an independent
brand, the Aslan becomes the flagship of the Hyundai brand.

The i20 2nd-Gen.
The i20 2nd-generation is launched in India and Europe. It comes with a 1.0L to 1.4L engine in
petrol and diesel. It is available in a 3-door or 5-door hatchback.

A Luxury Brand Is Announced.
It is announced the “Genesis” brand will be created, named after the Genesis luxury car.

The High Performance Line up N Is Announced.
N stands for “Namyang,’ the name of the place where Hyundai Motor’s global R&D center is located. Its principles are motorsports-inspired technology, balanced performance and emotional delight.


The 3rd-Gen. Tucson.
The 3rd-gen. compact Tucson SUV is introduced. Fitted with either a 2.0L or 1.7L CRDi engine, the
safety features of the car have also been improved with a strengthened body structure and automatic
braking systems among other enhancements.

The 6th-Generation Elantra.
The 6th-generation model of the Elantra is unveiled. While the car carries on the image of its
predecessor, the body has been widened to 1800 mm. Improvements such as weight reduction and
improved safety are also implemented in its design.


The Hybrid loniq Is Announced.
The new rival of the Toyota Prius, the hybrid-only
loniq is introduced. The car’s hybrid engine
surprises the market, achieving up to 40% in
thermal efficiency. loniq is available in a hybrid,
plug-in hybrid, and EV model.

The i30 3rd Gen.
The new i30 is unveiled.

The Grandeur 6th Gen Launches.
The new Grandeur launches with a more dynamic image aimed at younger buyers.

i30N Is Launched.
Hyundai enters High-Performance car segment with

Kona Launches.
Hyundai enters the B -segment crossover space with Kona.


Gran Turismo:

Hyundai Motor Group: