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In the corridors of automotive history, Hyundai’s global narrative is a riveting saga that spans continents and resonates with innovation. As we delve into the annals of Hyundai‘s journey in India, a tale unfolds, weaving together nostalgia, innovation, and enduring commitment. The journey begins with a sepia-tinted image—a mint-condition Santro, delivered in September 1998, a living relic that pioneered its way onto Indian roads. This prelude sets the stage for an expedition that transcends decades, resonating with the enduring spirit of Hyundai’s odyssey, from its first product to the futuristic Ioniq 5.

The Santro started it all, and the Ioniq 5 aims to lead the future

To understand Hyundai’s impact on India, one must first traverse the vast landscape of its global history. Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company embarked on a journey that would redefine the automotive industry.. Hyundai’s committment to innovation and quality quickly propelled it onto the global stage. The 1980s marked a significant milestone, with Hyundai becoming the first Korean automaker to establish a presence in the United States. The Hyundai Excel, launched in 1986, became a bestseller, cementing the brand’s reputation for affordability and reliability. As the years unfolded, Hyundai continued to make strides globally. In 1998, the year that would mark the advent of Hyundai in India, the company unveiled the Hyundai Tiburon, showcasing its commitment to cutting-edge design and performance The 2000s witnessed the rise of Hyundai as a global powerhouse, with a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly technology.

A step above the rest back in the day… literally

The Indian automotive landscape witnessed a seismic shift in September 1998 with the arrival of Hyundai’s first offering—the Santro. This compact hatchback, with its distinctive tall-boy design, captured the imagination of Indian consumers. The launch of the Santro marked a new era in affordable, reliable, and stylish transportation. Hyundai, a relative newcomer to the Indian market, made an indelible mark with the Santro, signalling its intent to carve a niche for itself alongside Shahrukh Khan as its brand ambassador. The late ’90s saw a burgeoning Indian middle class seeking a reliable yet stylish vehicle, and the Santro proved to be the answer. Its peppy performance, spacious interiors, and fuel efficiency resonated with Indian consumers. The Santro quickly became a symbol of Hyundai’s commitment to understanding and catering to the unique demands of the Indian market.

As the Santro etched its legacy, Hyundai did not rest on its laurels. The narrative propels us forward, transcending the years to explore Hyundai’s diverse lineup in India. The Hyundai Grand i10, launched in 2013, became an instant hit in the hatchback segment. With its fluidic design, advanced features, and fuel-efficient engines, the Grand i10 catered to a new generation of Indian consumers seeking a blend of style and practicality. Its success paved the way for the Grand i10 Nios, introduced in 2019, which further elevated the standards in the compact car category.

In the sedan segment, Hyundai accentuated its presence with the launch of the Verna. The Verna, with its sleek design and advanced features, redefined expectations in the mid-size sedan market. It became a preferred choice for those seeking a combination of sophistication and performance. a seamless experience. The spacious and futuristic interior, equipped with state-of-the-art connectivity features, transforms the driving experience into a tech-savvy adventure. The Hyundai Creta, introduced in 2015, marked the brand’s foray into the compact SUV segment. The Creta’s bold design, powerful performance, and feature-packed interior made it an instant sensation. With each subsequent update, the Creta has continued to dominate its segment, setting new benchmarks for the competition. Did we tell you there’s an updated Creta around the corner? Sshhh.

The Santro isn’t just a car; it’s a cultural icon

As we take a stroll down memory lane, the Santro emerges as more than just a car; it’s a cultural icon. The tall-boy design, a departure from the conventional, ensured ample headroom and a sense of openness—an instant hit in congested city traffic. The Santro was not just a vehicle; it was a companion on the journey of countless families across the country. With each passing year, the Santro evolved, incorporating new features and technologies. The launch of the Santro Xing in 2003, with its contemporary design and improved performance, further solidified Hyundai’s position in the Indian market. The Santro, with its reliability and enduring appeal, stood the test of time, weaving itself into the fabric of Indian automotive history.

In 2022, Hyundai unveiled the Ioniq 5, a marvel of electric mobility and cutting-edge technology; it’s a testament to Hyundai’s unwavering commitment to technological innovation. This electric SUV, built on Hyundai’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), promises a driving experience that blends performance, efficiency, and sustainability. The design of the Ioniq 5 is a harmonious fusion of retro-futurism and modern aesthetics, creating a visual spectacle that turns heads and paves the way for the future of automotive design. At the heart of the Ioniq 5 is its advanced electric powertrain. With ultrafast charging capabilities, the Ioniq 5 can add significant mileage with just a few minutes of charging, making long journeys a seamless experience. The spacious and futuristic interior, equipped with state-of-the-art connectivity features, transforms the driving experience into a tech-savvy adventure.

Another sign of the future

Hyundai’s foray into electric mobility is not just about embracing the future; it’s about redefining it. The Ioniq 5 is a bold proclamation that sustainable mobility can be exhilarating, setting the stage for Hyundai’s vision of a greener, smarter, and more connected future. In our quest to unravel Hyundai‘s illustrious journey in India, we set foot in Ahmedabad — a city steeped in history and adorned with the relics of time. Concept Hyundai, a loyal dealer associated with Hyundai since its inception in India, welcomed us with a piece of automotive history—an immaculately restored Santro, one of the pioneering models that rolled out from the Hyundai plant. Memories of the late ’90s flooded back, a time when the Santro was the new tallboy on the road, marking the dawn of Hyundai’s epoch in the Indian automotive landscape.

This is what Indian roads looked like in the late 90s

Venturing through the old city of Ahmedabad, our path intertwined with more time capsules — a Bajaj scooter and rustic shops that seemed to echo the ambiance of 1998. These timeless elements seamlessly fit into our frame, creating a visual tapestry of an era when the Santro was more than just a car; it was a symbol of change, innovation, and the promise of a new automotive future. We parked the Santro against its contemporary counterpart, the Ioniq 5, and a captivating narrative unfolded. The Santro, meticulously restored to its former glory, stood as a testament to Hyundai’s enduring legacy. It was amongst the first few Santros that graced Indian roads, embodying the spirit of a nation embracing a new era of mobility.

The Ioniq 5, with its futuristic design and cutting-edge technology, symbolized Hyundai’s evolution over the years. It stood tall beside the Santro, signifying the brand’s commitment to not just embrace change but to lead it. The juxtaposition of these two icons painted a vivid portrait of Hyundai’s trajectory — from the pioneering days of the Santro to the electric future embodied by the Ioniq 5. As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow on Ahmedabad’s timeless streets, the Santro and the Ioniq 5 stood side by side—a living testimony to Hyundai’s journey, a journey that started with a small hatchback and now propelled into the realms of electric innovation. In this city where history whispered through every corner, Hyundai’s story resonated — a tale of resilience, progress, and a commitment to steering towards a future where every drive is a testament to the brand’s indelible mark on Indian roads.

The Santro was fondly known as the Sunshine Car

In the ever-evolving automotive landscape of India, Hyundai remains not just a manufacturer but a driving force — an entity that blends the art of storytelling with the precision of engineering, creating a narrative that resonates with millions of Indian hearts Hyundai’s journey is not just a voyage through time; it’s a promise of exciting roads ahead, where every curve and straightaway is an opportunity to redefine what’s possible in the world of automobiles.