When Hyundai landed in Spain

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In 1992, the first Hyundai models arrived in Spain. Users were surprised by those ‘exotic’ Pony, S-Coupé, Lantra and Sonata, who played with the price as the main argument

Thirty years ago, Hyundai started sales in Spain. With a modest network of twenty-five dealers spread across the peninsula and the Balearic Islands, and a
range consisting of four models: Pony, S-Coupé, Lantra and Sonata.

But let’s go in parts. The automobile branch of the powerful Korean group Hyundai, was born in 1967. At the Turin motor show in 1974, the public contemplates the first car of its own concept of the Korean brand, christened Pony. The company had turned to former managers of British Leyland’s Austin Morris division to set it up. And for Ital Design, that is Giugiaro, for his design. It had a mechanical Mitsubishi Lancer of 1283 cc: the Japanese group then had 15% of the capital of the Koreans.

The architecture of that Pony couldn’t be more classic: a front engine that transferred its power to a rigid rear axle. This car will arrive in Europe for the first time, because it is the Belgian market where it takes its first steps, already as a production model in 1979.

When it goes on sale in Spain, it will already be a second generation and the “model year” (model/year) 1989, as the Anglo-Saxons like to say. It has evolved in every way. Now it is a front-wheel drive, but the 1298 cc (65 hp) and 1468 cc (72 and 84 hp) Mitsubishi-origin engines remain, and for a weight that did not even reach a thousand kilos. The body (there were 3, 5 and 5 doors) was in fact a Giugiaro pro design with changes made by the Koreans, and was 4.10 meters in the 3 and 5-door versions. Although the car was suitable for families, there was little space in the back due to the short wheelbase. But it offered air conditioning on most trim levels and stood out for its very tight price.

The second model was the S Coupe. It actually started from the base of the Pony and the smooth and harmonious lines of the body did not go unnoticed at the time. Its length of 4.21 meters and the power steering made it very manageable. The engine was the 1500, which moved the light car well and also spent little.

The Lantra was first presented in 1990. It was a very classic four-door sedan, 4.36 meters long, dressed in a body also by Giugiaro. It was conceived by Hyundai and featured Mitsubishi engineering, including the Galant platform and 1484 cc, 1,596 cc and 1,795 cc engines, rated at 84, 114 and 125 hp respectively.

With a length of 4.68 meters and 1,249 kilograms, the Sonata was a sedan in the upper middle class. Sonatas were built in Ulsan, Korea, and Bromont, Canada. Since its launch in 1988, it has been destined in Europe to attack models such as the Opel Vectra, Renault 21 or the Peugeot 405.

The mechanics (it was manufactured with 1.8, 2.0, 2.0 16-valve, 2.4 and 3.0 V6 engines) were also of Mitsubishi origin. The equipment was of a very high standard, something that will become one of the hallmarks of the brand over the years, with an emphasis on the standard ABS, something that was rare in models of its level at the time.

Source: La Verdad

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