Chung Ju-Yung founded the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company in 1947. Hyundai Motor Company was later established in 1967. The company?s first model, the Cortina, was released in cooperation with Ford Motor Company in 1968. In 1975, the Pony, the first Korean car, was released, with styling by Giorgio Giugiaro of ItalDesign and powertrain technology provided by Japan?s Mitsubishi Motors. Exports began in the following year to Ecuador and soon thereafter to the Benelux countries. In 1991, the company succeeded in developing its first proprietary gasoline engine, the four-cylinder Alpha, and transmission, thus paving the way for technological independence.
In 1986, Hyundai began to sell cars in the United States, and the Excel was nominated “Best Product #10” by Fortune magazine, largely because of its affordability. The company began to produce models with its own technology in 1988, beginning with the midsize Sonata.
In 1996, Hyundai Motors India Limited was established with a production plant in Irrungattukatoi near Chennai, India.
In 1998, Hyundai began to overhaul its image in an attempt to establish itself as a world-class brand. Chung Ju Yung transferred leadership of Hyundai Motor to his son, Chung Mong Koo, in 1999. Hyundai?s parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, invested heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of its vehicles. It added a 10-year or 100,000-mile (160,000?km) warranty to cars sold in the United States and launched an aggressive marketing campaign.
In 2004, Hyundai was ranked second in “initial quality” in a survey/study by J.D. Power and Associates. Hyundai is now one of the top 100 most valuable brands worldwide. Since 2002, Hyundai has also been one of the worldwide official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup.
In 2006, the South Korean government initiated an investigation of Chung Mong Koo?s practices as head of Hyundai, suspecting him of corruption. On April 28, 2006, Chung was arrested, and charged for embezzlement of 100 billion won (US$106 million), with Hyundai Vice Chairman and CEO, Kim Dong-jin taking over as head of the company.