Hyundai Celebrates 25 Years in U.S. image

Hyundai, which observes its 25th anniversary selling vehicles to American drivers in 2011, was little more than an ambitious second-tier brand when it chose to build its first car factory in the United States.

Officially, Hyundai’s 25th anniversary was February 20. Hyundai has sold 6,608,208 vehicles since it arrived in the U.S. with about two-thirds of those vehicles still on the road today, according to the automaker.

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 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.

“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.”

A new headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, is currently under construction and, Hyundai says, will be a late anniversary present to itself when it’s completed in late 2012.