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The original red PONY facing forward with a number plate "100.001" written on the front. The PONY is surrounded by other PONYs in different colors on both sides.
Heritage story

PONY, the timeless

4 minute read

It doesn’t get much more timeless than our Pony. As part of our ongoing Heritage campaign, we decided to celebrate our iconic car with photography awards culminating in an exhibition, awards ceremony, and exclusive concert. Dive into the world of Pony with us and find out what to expect.

The Heritage project

The ongoing Heritage project celebrates our effort from the past till now, in order to create Progress for Humanity. The pursuit of Progress for Humanity has always been a tenet of our company’s success. As we look back at some of our iconic cars and strive for greater innovation, we aim to reflect Hyundai Motor Company's Chairman Ju-yung Chung's vision – “A Desire for Better.”

A original poster for the PONY. The word PONY is written in ‘70s blue bubble writing style above a photo of the original PONY car.
A cover of an old sketchbook and few pages are showing the technical specifications of the PONY.
A cover of an old sketchbook and few pages are showing the technical specifications of the PONY.

Hyundai Motor Company has a history of taking on bold challenges and being in constant pursuit of innovation, and this heritage serves as a milestone as we embark on our future journey to achieve the Progress for Humanity. – JAEHOON CHANG, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY

The Heritage Project is an opportunity for us to look back at our journey and see how our company has evolved from being a relative latecomer of the automobile industry to a leader in the electrification era. The goal of the Heritage campaign is therefore to continue to shed light on the heritage that we have built – both in terms of our physical output and our fresh approach to mobility – and to propel our brand even further into the future.

A view into the “PONY, the timeless exhibition” where an original blue PONY standing along the archival footage displayed on the walls.
A newsletter article about the PONY written in Korean.

What if Pony had been called “Doraji?”

Pony received its name after a five-week of naming contest. Advertised in newspapers, and with a car as a prize, the contest received nearly 60,000 submissions. There were other popular names such as “Arirang” (a type of traditional folk song), “Doraji” (bellflower), and “Mugunghwa” (rose of Sharon).

The name “Pony” was submitted by about 100 people, but it was chosen because it appealed most to female university students. For Hyundai Motor Company, the word Pony represented a "beginning", and it was a testament to the "possibilities and potential of people" that our Founding Chairman believed in.

A silver PONY facing forward, standing next to a similar-looking PONY.
3 posters on the wall at the "PONY, the timeless exhibition".

"PONY, the timeless" exhibition

As a company that has grown alongside our people, we believe that it is just as important to celebrate our past while pushing forwards and reveling in the new. The "PONY, the timeless" exhibition is the first chapter of the Hyundai Heritage campaign and revisits our heritage in many ways.

The exhibition centers around our beloved Pony as it is a great example of the impact that our design, engineering, and innovative spirit has had on people worldwide. From the band Jannabi, who collaborated on a song called 'pony', to the famous football club Atlético Madrid – the “PONY, the timeless” exhibition has attracted a lot of fans from across the world.

What can you expect at the “PONY, the timeless” exhibition?

Our exhibition opened on June 9, 2023, at the Hyundai Motorstudio Seoul. It all starts on the 5th floor and progresses down to the 1st floor. Along the way, you can immerse yourself in nostalgic videos, paintings, and music, all created by artists from the ‘70s and ‘80s, when Pony was first introduced to the world.

You can also dive into the extensive Pony archive, see real Pony models from the car’s heyday, and look at some memorable photos of Pony in everyday life. There is also an opportunity to get your hands on exclusive merchandise that connects our past and present.

An original white Pony with ‘Pony2 Pickup’ written on the front number plate, while the headlight of a brown PONY is shown in the foreground.
A view seen over the original blue PONY at a wall in the exhibition.
A view into the PONY, the timeless exhibition over the roof of an original PONY where a visitor is looking at the exhibition wall full of archival footage.
A view into the PONY, the timeless exhibition. The left corner is covered in large white text on a black background and an original PONY is at the back.
A black film strip with vintage-looking family photos showing a family interacting with a PONY through the years, with the text ‘The PONY Photography Awards Ceremony’ is in the middle.

The "Pony Photography Awards" ceremony

Alongside the exhibition, you can also enjoy the “Pony Photography Awards” – a competition that was organized to commemorate the “PONY, the timeless” exhibition. The photography looks back on the earliest memories of Pony that came from the car naming contest that was opened to the public.

The exhibition and the awards ceremony have allowed parents and children to share their own stories and familial connections to the Pony, thereby sharing generational love for the model. The grand prize, which received over 3,600 submissions, went to Miss Pony Sim, who received an IONIQ 5 as a prize. Named by her father, who loved the Pony car dearly, she submitted a story and photo about her lifelong love affair with Pony and was awarded the highest award.

An old photograph from 1990, showing a green Pony and a baby girl standing next to it.

In an age when artificial intelligence and robotics have a profound impact on the way we live and work, we wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the core purpose of the company and the direction of our future. In seeking the answer, we looked back at our roots and what made us the company we are today.
We realized that Hyundai Motor was shaped by the experience and mindset that we accumulated while developing the Pony, Korea’s first independently developed mass-production model. – EUISUN CHUNG, EXECUTIVE CHAIR OF HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP

A special concert from the Jannabi band

The photography awards ceremony was attended by the Korean band Jannabi, who put on a special concert for the attendees on July 22. Jannabi was selected as an ambassador for the Heritage Project and released a collaborative song, which evokes nostalgia for the era (1975-1990) when the Pony brought mobility and freedom of movement to millions of people.

      Two members of the Jannabi band sitting on a stage and performing for the audience at the PONY Photography Awards with the campaign film running in the background.

At the award ceremony, Jannabi performed this song along with many other music from their previous album. The event was attended by people who entered the contest and participated in the exhibition event.

Jannabi’s music video for their 'pony' song also features the IONIQ 5, the acclaimed all-electric vehicle that took design inspiration from the Pony series. Our collaboration is just one of the ways that we have been bringing Hyundai’s heritage to young people who may not have their memories of Pony or the “My Car” era. We have also been commemorating our heritage through merchandise, photography awards, books, and music.

Here at Hyundai, we remain committed to bringing progress to humanity and offering the freedom to move that we first realized with our timeless Pony. To get involved with our Heritage campaign, follow @hyundai on Instagram.


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