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1915 is the birthday of Chung Ju-yung, the eldest son (5 brothers, 2 sisters) of a peasant family in the northern mountainous region of Korea. The country far to the east between China and Japan was still not splitted into two at the time, but a Japanese colony since 1910. The teachings of Confucius played a major role not only in Korea but also in the family Chung Ju-Yung. Under the ancestors was a famous representatives of this philosophical doctrine and the grandfather teaches the same body of thought the children in the village. His parents are there role models for special diligence. Here probably were the roots of the incredible development of Chung Ju-Yung.

In the teachings of Confucius respect for the social order and the ancestors play an important role. In the family the father and by his death the eldest son has a more important role than the mother. This responsibility is already instilled in the child from an early age. Overall, probably the work on the field took a much larger space than the school attendance. He looked slowly more critical to the low yield of the field work. Already early was noticed his interest in (few available) books and current newspapers.

At 16, he finished elementary school, and tried to realize against the will of his father, his own strong visions. Three times he left Tongchuan, initially with a friend on foot and without a cent, later by train. But every time he was brought back by his father. After all, with the third escape he came to Saigon with 17 and was able to visit there with the allegedly stolen money at home, a school for economy. The fourth time, he managed to escape final.

After lots of stops he worked in a store for rice and grain in Saigon. There he first worked occasionally as a deliverer, then full-time and after a relatively short time, even as a manager. His connections home remained. He bought additional land for the family from the money earned and married a 16-year-old girl from his village, selected by his parents. At 22 he opened his own shop.

The difficulties, however, remained faithful to the young businessman Chung Ju-Yung. Later they will say that he is probably mainly come so far by the many problems in life. In Europe, the Second World War had broken out. Since 1937, Japan attacked China and Korea was in the thick of it. It was under martial law and because of the rationing of food the business of Ju-Yung was closed.

The subsequent stay at home did not take long, and we saw him again as a truck driver. Driving cars and repair were probably one of the few opportunities not forbidden by the Japanese war laws. He became manager of a repair shop, but he was further dogged by bad luck, because the store burned down. With newly borrowed money, he started again. With its particularly customer-friendly methods 'fast and inexpensive' he was able to prevail against overwhelming competition. For three years he had the opportunity to make money. Then the Japanese authorities forced him to merge with another company. Thereby he was practically out of business.

Japan capitulated in 1945 and Korea came under the influence of the USSR in the north and the Americans in the south. Chung Ju-Yung was back in Saigon. He had not given up his dream from an own company. His talent to repair cars, met a strong demand in the U.S. Armed Forces. The 'Hyundai Motors Industrial Company' emerged. But it was still a long way to build own vehicles. Korea had quite different concerns. So the priorities of Hyundai's activity were in the range heavy industry, bridge and road construction as well as shipbuilding for the next approximately 20 years.

War broke out again in 1950. This time in the middle of Korea. It was all about the dominance of the respective alternates the two victorious powers. On the side of the USSR was particularly involved the also Communist China. Because both sides during the war each occupied almost the entire country, the destruction was enormous.The Korean War also stoked fears of a third world war in Europe. In 1953, the division was sealed in the middle, a macabre parallel to Germany.

Chung Ju-Yung came actually from the later North Korea called part. His main activities, however, were always in the south of the country. The was the economically stronger part and his proximity to the Americans did the rest to give him orders also and especially during the war. The reconstruction of the country also created immense opportunities, but the difficulties of Hyundai wanted to have no end. Thus, the restoration of the Golyong Bridge took over as a government order did cost far more money due to inflation than the company earned. Ju-Yung, it should not have seen as a loss, but as a challenge. Noble words, but if the banks would had closed the company ...

Hyundai will have to pay off the debt for a very long time, but the chain of bold projects went on and on. As we will see later in automobile development, learning is during the execution probably an important part of corporate philosophy. Certainly, also the inclusion of the first graduates of Korean universities. The proximity of the Group to the American army significantly improved the order situation. The new construction of the bridge across the ultra-wide Han River consolidated the reputation, but the economy still bobbed up and down.

1960 students unrest finished the mismanagement of President Rhee Syng-man with the support of the population. A year later, a military dictatorship was established under Park Chung-hee. Hereby ended the brief period of democracy, but brought significantly more economic growth. With the proximity to the new government for Hyundai began a phase of wide growth. The company betook itself on hitherto unknown terrain with the construction of cement factories. This was followed by projects in power plant construction and entry in the heavy industry. Later the construction of the 400 km-long highway from Seoul to Pusan were added as prestigious participation in their own country.

Foreign projects enhanced the reputation of the company. First not entirely, when one miscalculated thoroughly at the construction of a long highway in Thailand. Then, however, huge flagship projects arose in the whole world. The most spectacular was an port construction in Saudi Arabia for about $ 1 billion. All of these projects included the pride of the about 50 million Nation. They were part of some kind of economic miracle as it was experienced after the war in Germany. The early export and the formation of own resources were probably more similarities.

So one approached also the project vehicle construction. At the beginning, however, was urgently needed cooperation with foreign countries. About ten years before the commencement of regulated large-scale production, the company Hyundai Motor Corporation was established in 1966, led by Chung's brother Se-Yung Chung from 1969. The construction of approximately 80,000 cars was planned for 1976, which are 50,000 more than were sold at home in 1966. So the export was indispensable. Hyundai also had in its own country with Kia, SSangyong and Deawoo still three other competitors. The government made support depending from presenting detailed plans.

The first development assistant was the Ford company for which one finished the models Cortina and Granada sold to Korea. The closer the own serial production, the closer were collaborations with automotive partners/competitors. The new car should be called 'Pony'. Giorgio Giugiaro has worked with at its design, whereby certain similarities were unmistakable with the almost simultaneously presented VW Golf. Drive line and chassis came from a slightly older Mitsubishi version. The engineers came from British Leyland.

The Pony had the modern front wheel drive with transverse engine and a sloping tailgate. It was delivered with engines from 1.2 to 1.6 liters displacement, enough for favourable performance in the former lightweight construction. The nation was proud to be the second Asian country after Japan with own automotive production. Immediately the export began in selected countries. Apart from the at the time also at other manufacturers still to be improved rust prevention, there were little serious shortcomings. When exporting to Canada, however, it became clear that the car was too little tested in very cold countries.

One hardly believes, how the introduction in a new technology was accompanied in such a country by the general public. Each new model variant, every little production record was worth an announcement. This was also necessary because the cars had problems in distant countries. At that time, Korea was still largely held for a developing country. Only gradually the cars acquired a reputation. Only the low price supported the purchase at the beginning. And established traders, there were also only a few.

Hyundai ran great risks because it was dependent eg of the deliveries from Mitsubishi. Since you had to fear besides the success also the opposite. After all one was only 'secondary producer' and the most important supplier could always shut off the supply. Of course, the aim was to become self-reliant as soon as possible. But it took until 1993 until in the Coupe Scoupe debuted the first self-developed 'Alpha' engine. 02/08