• Jul 19th 2007 at 2:33PM
  • 26
Hyundai announced today that it has passed the five million sales milestone in the U.S. since entering the market a little over two decades ago. During that time, Hyundai has transformed itself from a cheap and shoddy import brand into one that can rival industry leader Toyota for reliability, and is now on track to reach its goal of being the fifth largest automaker in the world by the end of the decade.

The first Hyundai to be sold in the U.S. was the Excel compact, which arrived back in 1986. Hyundai was unprepared for the levels of sales its Excel would enjoy, and consequently couldn't provide adequate service for its rapidly growing customer base. This led to the company being stereotyped as the maker of unreliable cars, but this all changed at the turn of the century when Chairman Chung Mong-koo made quality a key priority.

Today, Hyundai is manufacturing cars in the U.S. and Europe and is on target to reach 550,000 sales in America for this year. Recently, products like the new Veracruz and Santa Fe have shown just how far Hyundai has come. Next up is the Genesis luxury sedan and a rear-wheel-drive coupe.

[Source: Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      ...and 4,878,121 of those are in landfills some where. Congrats.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Toyota did it 30 years ago.
      Honda was 25 years ago.
      • 8 Years Ago

      This article makes it sound as if Hyundai's early reputation was caused by a lack of dealership service bays...when in fact it was due to the Excel's awful quality.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I just recall my friend's '86 Excel (where have the years gone?) practically disentegrating before our eyes. Poor panel fits, awful interior quality, disgustingly bad brakes, and poor paint jobs were just some of his problems.

        My sister's '92 Precis, on the other hand, served her well and ran strong and true for 8 yrs. Apparently, in just 6 short years, Hyundai had managed to get their act together to some degree.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Actually, one of the biggest problems with the early Hyundais was not the car, but rather the owner, as people didn't bother to do general maintenance on them. Due toi their inexpensive purchase price, people considered them to be a disposable car. These vehicles came with free oil changes, but less than a third of customers took advantage of this offer. Now, how often are you going to pay for an oil change when you don't bother to get one for free?

        In my time managing a Hyundai store, we frequently saw them with 100,000+ miles on them- when they had been maintained. Were the Excels the best car on the road- absolutely not. Were they as bad as their reputation? No. Has Hyundai improved more than any car company in the last decade- without a doubt.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I put myself through college repairing Hyundai's and Chryslers. I always said that Hyundai was the better vehicle of the two and that people really should expect great things from them in the future.

      Touching on some of the points previous posters have made, it comes down to a cultural difference between American and Asian auto manufacturers. In America we generally think of "long term" as being 1-5 years. In many asian cultures, their idea of long term is much, much further down the road than 1-5 years. Therefore asian businesses generally are much more likely to plan for the future, rather than just plan for the immediate "future".

      Going back to Hyundai quality, it bewilders me that many claim Hyundai's to be "crap" on forums and blogs like this one. I believe there is a good chance that most people who claim Hyundais are "crap" have actually never even driven a recent vehicle from Hyundai. To say the company has made leaps and bounds is truly an understatement.
      • 8 Years Ago
      best 2 cars i've owned in a long time.....
      nothing beats the value.

      woot for Hyundai.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hyundai is going to be #5 biggest automaker...in the WORLD!? Whoah. Who knew that!? So what's all this talk on some forums about Hyundai being a tonka toy maker, a fly-by-night operation? These Asians have my respect and I feel embarrassed by Detroit. Why can't we do the same? What's wrong with us? Well, I'm off to the Hyundai dealership...
        • 8 Years Ago
        dude, uh, no.
        i've been living in Korea for five years now and the GM owned Daewoo is definitely not even close to beating Hyundai. It goes Hyundai, then Samsung, who's motor division is owned by Nissan, mind you, not an American corporation, then Kia, then there's that sweet ol' American Daewoo. it used to be a prominent company, selling excelling cars in Europe, like the Leganza, which still shows up in the streets and it still looks pretty good if you ask me.

        get your s**t straight, man.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Because 70% of their cars are exported from a cheap a** country. We can't do it because we have a good standard of living. GM owned Daewoo beats Hyundai in their own country, we can do it on a level playing field.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Apparently the top 6 automakers in the world for 2006 were....

        1) GM
        2) Toyota
        3) Ford
        4) Volkswagon
        5) DaimlerChrysler
        6) Hyundai

        Jumping DaimlerChrysler...er...whatchamacallit... by 2010? Yup, I could see that happening.
      • 8 Years Ago
      In defence of the American auto industry ... it's a lot easier to start from scratch than it is to turn around after having been at the top.

      Congrats to Hyundai ... the little engine that could. I remember not too long ago they were hoping for a number 10 spot ...
      • 8 Years Ago
      you want to know why korean car company have lower overhead, it because they don't have to deal with the same insane wages and benefit package american car company do. If our auto unions are willing to strike for better wages and benefit then fine. But then these auto workers can't complain when they are out of a job cause its cheaper for everyone to buy car from Korea.
        • 8 Years Ago
        @malenurse-The S. Korean auto workers in average make $40 - $60K annually. And current US to Korean exchange rate is $1 USD to Korean W926.10, which it makes their products more expensive. Your information is not only incorrect, it’s also deceptive.
          • 8 Years Ago
          it is entirely possible that my info is wrong...but my point is this. An average wage of autoworker in the state including the cost of benefit is something absurd like $75. That $ 75 dollar automakers spent on each employee per hour. And yet the workers continue to push for better wages and benefit. When people with the same educational credential doesn’t even make half as much. And yet they wonder why jobs are cut….because they are costing too much. If they want better wages, fine everyone is entitle to make as much as they can. But just don’t compliant on TV when their jobs are being cut. Sincerely
      • 8 Years Ago
      best 2 cars i've owned in a long time...
      nothing beats them on value right now.

      woot for Hyundai!
      • 8 Years Ago
      There are some minor issues with my 03 Tiburon, but overall quality and reliability is not so bad. I have the feeling they're going to push even harder for the coming models ... no doubt they look into a bright future.
      My next car will be a Hyundai again.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Hyundai's real goal was to sell 1,000,000 autos in the US by 2010. They aren't even close to that, KIA is growing but Hyundai isn't. Cheap still sells.
        • 8 Years Ago
        What is the purpose of your posts Brian W? All you do to trail Hyundai articles with biased useless garbage.
      • 8 Years Ago
      People now look at Hyundai as an inexpensive car, rather then a cheap one. Many new buyers are unaware of the Pony or Excel. Low price and quality will always win buyers.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hyundai has lower overhead than GM / Ford / Chrysler.

      Hyundai probably has lower overhead than the Japanese and Germans as well.

      And they are making good use of their advantage.

      Generalizations about US vs. Asian corporate culture seldom hold up. Toyota and Honda are the only truly successful Japanese car manufacturers - they have earned their place while other Japanese marques have failed or had marginal success at best.
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