Hyundai’s first UK offering was Pony, which could be construed as rather unfortunate if you’re familiar with Cockney rhyming slang.
That was in 1982. Whatever you made of its products, it can’t be denied that Hyundai blazed a trail for Korean manufacturers, forging a reputation for low-priced, reliable vehicles.
The company’s watershed moment didn’t arrive until 2005, when Hyundai Motor UK was established as a standalone subsidiary.
The manufacturer has recently surpassed one million car sales in the UK, but that statistic tells only part of the story.
To fully appreciate how its growth has accelerated, consider that the entire 1982-2004 period accounts for roughly 400,000 of those sales, but the lion’s share have come in the 10 years since 2005.
One of the catalysts for Hyundai’s stunning growth was the scrappage scheme ushered in by the UK government in 2009 to stimulate the industry.
A customer could hop out of his tatty old banger and buy a generously kitted, shiny new car with £1000 knocked off via the scrappage scheme. It was possible, for example, to get into a Hyundai i10 for £5k or an i30 for £8k.