Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group has been around since 1967, (as Hyundai Motor Company) so there’s a lot to know about the brand as a whole. We’ve done the research to compile this list of interesting facts and bits of trivia about Hyundai as a brand, its cars, and other products, and Hyundai dealerships to keep you informed on the company. And who knows? One of these little-known facts may help you win a round of team trivia one day.
Fact #1: Hyundai is South Korea’s largest car manufacturer.
The company was launched in 1967 by founder Chung Ju-Yung and exported its first independently created vehicle in 1976. The Hyundai headquarters is located in Seoul, South Korea’s capital city as well as a hub for business and culture.
Within the Korean domestic market, the brand sold 659,565 cars in 2010, accounting for 45 percent of the automotive market share in Korea. As a comparison, outside its home country, Hyundai sold 2.9 million cars that same year—but that’s divided among 186 countries and an estimated 5,300 Hyundai dealerships.
Fact #2: Hyundai owns the world’s largest vehicle production plant.
Hyundai’s Ulsan factory, located in South Korea, is the largest factory of its kind globally, producing more cars each year than any other plant. It’s actually a complex, composed of five factories that together, amazingly put out a car every 10 seconds. (That comes out to 8,640 per day.) Last year in 2016, the Ulsan plant manufactured 1.53 million vehicles.
The physical scale of the factory is mind-boggling, its footprint coming in at 15 million square meters with 34,000 employees trickling in and out to manage production. More than a thousand of those employees actually live in dorm-style accommodations on-site. Cars built in the Ulsan factory are shipped to Hyundai dealerships around the world.
Fact #3: Factory workers get some serious perks.
It may have surprised you to learn, as you read Fact #2, that some employees of the Ulsan plant live where they work. Ulsan provides other unusual benefits, too.
Most notably, the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” simply doesn’t apply to the workers at Ulsan. Everyone in the building gets a free lunch every single day, a promise initially made by founder Ju-Yung that’s still upheld today. Not only that, they have 24 restaurants to choose from on the premises—no boring company cafeteria drudgery here.
A water feature called “Green Park” gives employees a serene, dedicated area to relax. (Landscaping is taken seriously at Ulsan: There are some 590,000 trees sprucing up the campus.)
The pay rate, not to be overlooked, is nothing to sneeze at, either. According to a 2016 Auto Express article, drivers make 71,000 British pounds per year. That equates to just under 95,000 each year in American dollars. These well-compensated drivers are responsible for testing vehicles produced at Ulsan then driving them to the docks, where they await transportation to Hyundai dealerships around the world to be sold. These employees are compensated so well due to the demanding nature of their work schedules. Ulsan’s drivers work 350 days a year to keep up with the volume of cars rolling off the huge factory’s production lines.
Fact #4: Hyundai has a major presence in the sports community.
Hyundai makes a point of staying connected to the sports world. The brand was an official sponsor of the 2017 NFL draft. Hyundai also supports the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup, Korea Football Association, Olympique Lyonnais (a French football club), and UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). And of course, there’s the more local tradition of Hyundai dealerships sponsoring teams in their home communities, at levels ranging from Little League to the NCAA (National College Athletic Association).
One area where Hyundai is particularly involved is in motorsports. At the 49th International Swedish Rally in 2000, second round of the World Rally championship, Hyundai entered the field as a player in motorsports worldwide. Later that year, the team achieved top-ten results at Rally Argentina when their drivers took seventh and eighth places.
Hyundai World Rally drivers garnered Hyundai Motorsport its first-ever win in 2014 at Rallye Deutschland, and in 2016, the team placed first again at Rally Argentina. Winning driver Thierry Neuville took the first slot at Rally Argentina for the second time in 2017.
Fact #5: There’s more to Hyundai branding than meets the eye.
At first glance, the design you see embossed on bumpers or waving on banners at Hyundai dealerships looks to be simply a capital H surrounded by an oval, with a jaunty tilt to the bar connecting the vertical lines of the letter. According to the Hyundai website, though, there’s a deeper meaning behind the seemingly straightforward logo.
“The emblem also symbolizes two people shaking hands—a company representative on one side and a satisfied customer on the other,” the website explains. And that’s not all: the oval shape is meant to represent the globe and Hyundai’s worldwide presence.
The brand name itself, the word “Hyundai” in Korean, means “modern.” You see this focus on state-of-the-art technology reflected in the company slogan: “New Thinking. New Possibilities.”
The common thread in each of these bits of Hyundai trivia is a focus on greatness. Hyundai’s competitive spirit (embodied in its sports sponsorships and motorsports team) keep the brand driving toward being the biggest, the first, the best. In the automotive industry, Hyundai is a force to be reckoned with—ranking as the world’s fifth-largest car manufacturer since 2007 and employing more than 78,000 people at Hyundai dealerships and factories around the world. The brand has won Car-of-the-Year awards, been named second-best in initial quality by J.D. Power and Associates in 2004, and set records for production efficiency in its factories.
In that spirit, Hyundai’s recently unveiled its latest impressive trivia tidbit: the first mass-produced fuel cell car. The latest victory in the battle toward zero-emissions vehicles, a new hydrogen-powered fuel cell SUV, debuted this year. The 2017 Tucson Fuel Cell SUV emits only water, and it charges in just 10 minutes (as compared three to 14 hours for current electric cars.) Looking toward the future, the company says long-range electric cars will roll out to Hyundai dealerships sometime after 2021.