The Progress Manifesto

The “can-do” spirit is at the heart of Hyundai’s heritage. It’s the attitude of progressing, no matter what. It's the persistent curiosity for what lies ahead. Of always chasing the next. What was once a man’s desire for better, is today the ethos of an entire company. We have come a long way. And we won’t stop here. Next Awaits.

The Hyundai Story

The legacy of Hyundai told in nine parts.

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  1. The beginning of success

    Chung Ju-yung, the founder of Hyundai, was born in the village of Asan, located about 30 miles north of the current demilitarized zone (DMZ) in what is now North Korea. The eldest of 7 children, he had to shoulder the responsibility of looking after his siblings, which meant working 15 to 16 hours a day alongside his father. As he later recalled: “…Even if you worked very hard you frequently didn’t have enough to eat.” But Chung Ju-yung was born an optimist. He fondly recalls his love for early mornings and the anticipation about the things he could achieve for himself and his family. In Seoul, he was always driven to seek new opportunities, from working as a construction labourer carrying stones, to loading and unloading ships as a stevedore. Although his father always managed to find his runaway son and bring him back to the farm, Chung Ju-Yung never gave up. He attempted to run away from his house again. After multiple attempts, his undying desire finally saw success: in three years he progressed from a rice delivery boy, to managing and owning a thriving rice store in Seoul. As World War II approached, Chung Ju-yung was forced to give up his rice store, yet his desire for better wasn’t supressed. He went on to create a car repair service that repaired cars five times faster than any local competition could. This ingenious idea bore the seeds of what is today the global automobile enterprise that we know as: The Hyundai Motor Group

  2. Paving our way forward.

    “I wanted to help build Korea so my children would have a better life.” -Chung Ju-yung In the early 50’s, Korea was at war. Wide spread economic and political turmoil prevailed, and investments were virtually impossible to obtain. Against all odds, Chung Ju-yunghad the ambitious vision to rebuild his country. In line with his vision was the name Hyundai-which means “modern times” in Korean. And so he went on to establish Hyundai Civil Works in 1947 and later merged it into Hyundai Construction Company, in 1950. His first major challenge was to undertake the reconstruction of the GoryeongBridge. Despite lacking formal training in bridge construction, Mr. Chung forged ahead with his “can-do” spirit. The bridge was successfully completed and Hyundai quickly became responsible for building much of South Korea’s road infrastructure. An achievement that would eventually lead to the making of Korea’s first national car: the Pony. He needed bigger challenges, and the next one took the shape of a battle of wits against dam construction experts, in the building of the SoyangDam. Although, he had no experience in building dams, after studying the plans, Chung Ju-yungaudaciously opined that the competing dam building experts were wrong in suggesting a concrete dam. He believed that a dam built of gravel would be safer and faster to build. The competing experts were infuriated by Chung Ju-yung’sreport, and challenged his conclusion. The proposed dam, still stands today. A symbolic testimony to the lasting foundations of Hyundai

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  1. “Have you tried?”

    Hyundai was now well-established in the field of construction, and had succeeded in building much of Korea’s road infrastructure. But Chung Ju-yung’sambition of building up Korea was far from done. He wanted to put Korea on the map by expanding business overseas. And what better way to do it than to build ships. But Korea had never built a carrier ship before, that’s why when one engineer heard about the shipbuilding plans, he remarked, “It is impossible!” But Chung Ju-yung argued, "how does one know it’s impossible if one hasn’t tried it?" In order to secure funds for this seemingly unrealistic goal, Chung Ju-yung pulled a 500 Won note out of his wallet and showed it to the committee of investors. On the bill was a reproduction of Korea’s famous Turtle ship, the world’s first iron clad vessel, built in 1592. The point was made, Mr. Chung’s enthusiasm and a surprisingly innovative argument got Hyundai the funding. Thus was born Hyundai Heavy Industries in 1972. It was this moment in the history of Hyundai that gave rise to the expression: “Have you tried?”, a simple statement that became the company’s governing philosophy and an internal motto that continues to lead Hyundai to this day.

  2. Looking over the horizon

    In the 1970s, president Park Chung-heewanted to breathe new life into the Korean economy. So, he began to encourage Korean companies to grow their businesses in global markets. Not surprisingly, Hyundai took the lead again. After successful projects in Iran and Bahrain, the company was invited to take on the most monumental and risky project in the Middle East: the Jubail Harbour Facility. The final bidding in Riyadh was tense. After a nerve-rackingly climactic meeting, Hyundai was announced the clear winner. The reason for Hyundai’s winning bid was its unconventional approach. By shipping 120,000 tons of material from Ulsan in Korea all the way to Saudi Arabia, Hyundai managed to cut costs drastically and shave 8 months from the construction time. In the end, the Jubail Harbour Project came to be known in the construction industry as “The wonder of the world” with the project fetching assets equalling to as much as half of the Korean government’s entire annual budget for the year of 1976.

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  1. Building a national car

    “If roads are the veins of our nation, then cars are its blood.” –Chung Ju-yung. Hyundai had already proven itself in roads and bridges, the next step was to fill them. In 1967, during the second wave of Korea’s national rebuilding project, Chung-Ju-yung founded Hyundai Motor company. Soon after, HMC went in search of a design assistant and chose ex-British Leyland president, Sir George Turnbull. He was immediately hired as the Vice President of the Hyundai Motor Company. With the expertise of Sir Turnbull, Hyundai went about building an engineering centre and a new assembly plant in Ulsan in half the time. The Ulsan assembly plant was built on an empty swamp. Where others saw the swamp as an obstacle Chung Ju-yung saw an opportunity. As Sir Turnbull noted at that time, “Mr. Chung believed he could achieve anything if he put his mind to it.” Soon, his vision became reality and Korea’s first mass-production car, the Pony, rolled off the production lines, earning the nickname Kuk-min-cha, meaning “car of the nation”.

  2. Bringing Hyundai to the world

    “If Korea can win in ship building, why not cars?” -Chung Ju-yung Within weeks of opening the new Pony assembly line, Chung Ju-yung announced that he would export five thousand cars overseas. Mr. Turnbull was shocked, as the cars were not ready for the international market. But Chung Ju-yung was confident. Leading management expert, Michael Porter, noting Chung Ju-yung's attitude, once said, “Unbelievable audacity, it is a phenomenon that few Westerners can fully comprehend, let alone emulate. It is entrepreneurship at its finest…” Between 1972 and ‘78 the Hyundai Motor Company was facing financial challenges. But against all odds, Chung Ju-yung still decided to build a new automobile factory at one-tenth the cost, and with a target of selling 300,000 cars internationally. By 1986, contrary to all expectations, Hyundai had not only achieved its goal, but surpassed it. HMC sales had risen to more than 400,000 vehicles, becoming the top seller in Korea and poised to expand internationally. Fast forward to today and Hyundai Motor Group is now one of the top 5 automotive companies in the world.

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  1. Progress is nothing without humanity

    Chung Ju-yung was always deeply concerned about the welfare of his fellow countrymen. In 1977, he established The Asan Foundation for the underprivileged, pledging one-half of his Hyundai Stock. Another act of his compelling desire to help was his ingenious “Oil Tanker” method, in which he sank a defunct tanker to raise a rice field in Seosan, resulting in one of Korea’s largest reclamation projects to this day. To raise the profile of his country, Chung Yu-Jung became chairman of the Olympics bidding committee in 1981. In the 7 years that followed, Mr. Chung did everything he could, even spending a sizeable chunk of his wealth to bring the 1988 Olympics to Seoul. However, among his many acts of giving, one in particular stands out: As a young boy, Chung Ju-yungused the money that his father received from the sale of a single cow to escape his village in North Korea to go to Seoul. 55 years later, the founder of Hyundai arranged for 1001 cows to be sent across the border to North Korea, with the 1 extra cow as a payback to his father. He reasoned that if one cow could do so much for him, imagine what 1001 cows could do for the people of North Korea.

  2. 52-years-young

    “My parents worked very hard from early morning until late at night, and still they were always poor. I became determined to help both my family and my countrymen prosper.” -Chung Ju-yung, Founder of Hyundai Motor Group Chung Ju-yung harboured this vision ever since he was a young boy. A vision that saw him rise from a manual labourer carrying stones to the founder of the Hyundai Group. Chung Ju-yung never saw limits. Instead, he worked tirelessly to find new possibilities, proving to his fellow men time and again that the “Unlimited” is possible. As of 2019, Hyundai ranks well within the Fortune 500 list. Yet our real achievement has been to push the boundaries of our industry, year after year. Moving from a relative newcomer, to leader in alternative powertrains and beyond.” Towards the end of his career, Mr. Chung’s dream of contributing towards developing his country finally became reality. In 1996, Korea was officially recognised as a developed country. It had moved from a country people barely knew about to being a first world country in record time. The people of Korea prospered, and the country progressed rapidly. Today, Hyundai embodies the philosophy of its founder as it continues to leap ahead with unparalleled audacity.

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  1. How Hyundai Sees the Future

    Some may ask: what’s next for Hyundai? Through these pages, we’ve just shown how Hyundai is not limited to an industry, but unlimited in the way we think. We went from making roads, to bridges, to ships, to cars. And along the way we rebuilt our country. From humble origins, we are now on the cutting edge of new mobility with the Nexo— The 2ndGeneration of Hyundai’s pioneering Hydrogen fuel-cell technology. By the year 2030, Hyundai aims to produce 500,000 such fuel cell cars, ushering in a new era of mobility solutions and paving the way forward. We have come a long way. And we won’t stop here. Next Awaits.

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Some make announcements. We build.

While some car brands just announce sustainable cars, Hyundai has already brought three zero-emission cars onto the road. Recently, we launched our next-generation Fuel Cell electric vehicle: the Nexo. We also introduced Europe’s first fully-electric sub-compact SUV with the Kona Electric. Furthermore, the new IONIQ Electric offers an extended driving range, reaching distances of up to 294 km. And we won’t stop here. Electric awaits. Next Awaits.

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  1. KONA electric

    The first electric compact SUV in Europe.

  2. NEXO

    The 2nd Generation of Hyundai’s pioneering Hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

  3. Hyundai IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid

    IONIQ

    The world’s first car offering three eco powertrains in a single body.

    Warranty

    Unlimited peace of mind comes as standard with your Hyundai. Not just because it's built to the highest possible quality standards – the 5-Year Unlimited Mileage warranty your Hyundai comes with is just as well put together.

    *The Hyundai 5-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty applies only to Hyundai vehicles that have been originally sold by an authorized Hyundai dealer to an end-customer, as set out in the terms and conditions of the warranty booklet. 8 years or 200.000 km warranty on vehicle battery unit. Local terms and conditions apply. Contact your official Hyundai dealer for further information.