Last week, Hyundai’s premium off-shoot Genesis revealed its latest model, the G70, which has its sights set on the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4. While this might appear a bit too ambitious to some, those who have been following the Korean giant over the past decade will agree that it is not as far-fetched as it might seem. However, while all the three German heavyweights it’s targeting have been producing world-class cars for many decades now, the same cannot be said about Hyundai.
While Genesis and its parent marque are doing extremely well in the North American market today, the brand’s foray into the region was quite unpromising. In the Eighties, it entered the US with the Excel, which was riddled with problems and soon earned it bad publicity. And the car with which Hyundai tested Canadian waters, the Pony, was even worse.
It was engineered by boffins hired from British Leyland, themselves not known for building very dependable cars, using bits and pieces from Mitsubishi and Ford. Naturally, it had woefully outdated tech, was poorly built and was extremely predisposed to rust. From the shoddy construction and paintjob to tacky plastics inside and mechanical bits that wore out frequently, everything about the Pony was terrible. Its wobbly suspension and rear-wheel drive didn’t help either in the snowy Canadian climes.
Strangely though, mostly owing to its cheap price, Hyundai sold much more of these in Canada than they had hoped to. But most of these degenerated and vanished long before the Korean carmaker actually started exporting good quality cars to North America and the rest of the world.