With gas prices at $1.20 per gallon, financing topping 10 percent APR and airbags emerging as the latest safety technology, the auto industry looked much different 25 years ago when Hyundai brought its car to the United States. Today, with a full line-up of award-winning products, Hyundai Motor America celebrated its 25th anniversary in the U.S. on February 20th, focused on the new challenges and exciting opportunities that the next 25 years will bring.
Since its start in 1986 with the humble Excel, Hyundai has grown into a full-line producer of cars and crossovers, from Accent to Equus, from Tucson to Veracruz. Since the company’s arrival, Americans have put 6,608,208 Hyundai vehicles in their driveways, with more than 4,350,000 still on the road today. In 2010, sales topped 538,000, making Hyundai the sixth best-selling brand in the country, behind only Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, and Chevrolet. U.S. production capacity has grown to over 400,000 units of Sonata, Elantra and Santa Fe models produced in modern assembly plants in Alabama and Georgia. Hyundai engines and transmissions are produced here, too. Direct U.S. employment totals more than 4,000, with total employment including suppliers and dealers of over 45,000. Hyundai’s commitment to the U.S. market includes engineering, design, testing, production, sales, and marketing. In all, Hyundai’s investments in the U.S. total $1.7 billion.
Hyundai’s heritage is built on earning the trust of its owners. Every Hyundai sold since the 1999 model year comes with what remains the industry’s best warranty – a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and a 5-year, 60,000-mile vehicle warranty. Over the years, Hyundai has partnered with its owners in deeper ways, through good and bad times, and now offers a comprehensive suite of programs under the Hyundai Assurance banner that includes America’s Best Warranty, five years of unlimited mileage roadside assistance, and the innovative job-loss protection program.
As Hyundai grows, so do its aspirations. Last year, Hyundai established the most aggressive fuel economy goal in the industry, committing to a 50 miles-per-gallon-plus fleet average by 2025. This strategy, which falls under the banner “BlueDrive,” includes the aggressive implementation of a range of new, affordable technologies such as direct injection, turbocharging, internally-developed transmissions, and lightweighting. In parallel, Hyundai’s engineering teams are developing new fuel cell and battery solutions to help provide alternative solutions beyond the internal combustion engine.
Hyundai’s pursuits are not limited to the automobile. Hyundai Hope on Wheels is the united effort of Hyundai Motor America and its more than 800 dealers across the U.S. to help children fight cancer. We are dedicated to raising awareness about childhood cancer, celebrating the hope of the brave children battling the disease and finding a cure through our support of the best pediatric cancer researchers in the country. A portion of every Hyundai sold goes directly to this fight and more than $23 million have been donated since 1998.
“As far as we’ve come since 1986, we still feel we’re in the early stages of connecting the Hyundai brand to the U.S. consumer,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We’ve always challenged convention – from our powertrain strategies, to our consumer partnership programs, to our unique Genesis and Equus retail approach. It’s authentically Hyundai to question the status quo and pursue our own vision of how things should be in order to best serve our customers. This willingness to challenge convention will continue to guide us these next 25 years.”
Hyundai’s model lineup now offers 12 distinct cars and crossovers – with more on the way. Hyundai’s immediate future includes three exciting new models arriving at showrooms through summer. The Veloster, a unique 3-door 40-mpg sporty coupe featuring Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics solution, will join all-new 4-door and 5-door versions of the Accent, which will also deliver 40 mpg. Hyundai’s award-winning Genesis gets a thorough face-lift and new engines and transmissions, with the performance-focused Genesis R-Spec and its all-new 429-horsepower Tau 5.0L V8 engine making its first appearance.
Hyundai’s anniversary present still awaits; a state-of-the-art headquarters based in Fountain Valley, Calif. is slated for completion in late 2012. The new campus doubles the size and capacity of the current building, giving Hyundai and its employees an environment conducive to growth as it prepares to help write the next chapter of a great American success story.