Over the past two decades Hyundai has moved from being a manufacturer of cheap poor quality cars to become a serious player in the auto industry with world class cars that equal or better more established brands in reliability, performance and price. One of the most influential executives to spur the turnaround is the company’s chairman Chung Mong-Koo, who stated the now famous claim that Hyundai would eventually be ranked among the world’s top five carmakers.

Hyundai, together with its sister brand Kia, sold a total of 3,961,629 vehicles in 2007, finally earning the fifth place ranking, according to Automotive News. As recently as 1999, when Mong-Koo first took over the company, Hyundai was ranked the 11th biggest carmaker by sales.

Factoring in sales of complete knock-down (CKD) kits, which Hyundai exports to countries like China and India, total sales in 2007 amount to 4,146,743 units, and this year is set to be even bigger with new operations opening in the U.S., South America and Eastern Europe as well as China, India and Russia, plus several exciting models in the pipeline such as the recently revealed Genesis sports coupe (pictured).

2007 Global Sales Rankings:

1 Toyota 9,366,000

2 GM 8,902,252

3 Volkswagen 6,191,618,

4 Ford 5,964,000

5 Hyundai-Kia 3,961,629

6 Honda 3,831,000

7 Nissan 3,675,574

8 PSA/Peugeot 3,428,400

9 Chrysler 2,676,268

10 Fiat 2,620,864

2009 Hyundai Genesis Coupe