Giugiaro to recreate

Hyundai heritage

Giorgetto Giugiaro with Luc Donckerwolke and SangYup Lee with Hyundai Pony
Hyundai Pony Coupe Concept, front
Hyundai Pony Coupe Concept, side

HYUNDAI is to rekindle its relationship with legendary auto design family Giugiaro to rebuild its original Pony Coupe concept created for the marque's debut at the 1974 Turin Motor Show.

Hyundai announced the plan during a design talk in Seoul, featuring Giorgetto and his son Fabrizio Giugiaro along with Luc Donckerwolke, chief creative officer of Hyundai Motor Group, and SangYup Lee, executive vice president and head of Hyundai Motor's Global Design Centre.

It was 48 years ago that Giorgetto Giugiaro came up with the design that was to set Hyundai on its journey to become on of the world's major motor companies and it is hoped the rebuilt concept will be shown in the spring of 2023.

The Giugiaro family and their GFG Style company have become icons in the world of car design and their creations include the Lotus Esprit famed in the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me and the DeLorean DMC 12 which featured in the Back To The Future movie.

"We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Giorgetto and Fabrizio to Seoul for this rare occasion and we look forward to collaborating with them and GFG Style on this extraordinary design project," said Donckerwolke. "Not only does this project hold historical value, but it also represents a cross-cultural exchange that could pave the way for more collaborations down the road."

"The original Pony and Pony Coupe Concept were one of those rare creations that influenced the designs of not just one but multiple production and concept vehicles, including our award-winning IONIQ 5 and attention-grabbing N Vision 74," said SangYup Lee. "Since the original concept car no longer exists, we've commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro to rebuild it based on our design philosophy, ‘Shaping the future with legacy.'"

In 1974, when Hyundai Motor was still in its early days of vehicle production, the company's executives contacted Giorgetto Giugiaro to propose work on designing Hyundai's first independent model and Korea's first mass-produced car.

At the time, there was no vehicle design and styling capability in Korea, so Hyundai Motor commissioned Giugiaro to design, make blueprints and build five prototypes, one of which was a coupe. In the process of designing and prototyping, Hyundai decided to show the Pony and Pony Coupe at the Turin Motor Show to promote the brand's debut in the global market.

With its wedge-style nose, circular headlamps and origami-like geometric lines, the Pony Coupe was intended for North American and European markets, but the project came to a stop in 1981 just before mass production amid adverse global economic environment.

While the concept was an unfinished dream at the time, its bold spirit helped kickstart the Korean automotive industry by directly influencing Hyundai's first independent production models under its Pony nameplate, which ran from 1975 to 1990 and were sold around the world.

The Pony Coupe Concept remains a key part of Hyundai's legacy and hallmark of its founding chairman Ju-Yung Chung's vision for the company.

With the Pony Coupe Concept and subsequent Pony line-up, the founder Chung paved the way for Korea's automotive industry with his positive mindset, bold leadership, firm belief and indomitable diligence. His leadership helped Korea emerge from the hardship of war to become an economic powerhouse by the late 20thcentury.

The Pony and Pony Coupe Concept's impact can still be felt. In 2019, Hyundai Motor took inspiration from the original Pony for the ‘45' concept car, which directly influenced the IONIQ 5, which debuted two years later.

Also in 2021, Hyundai reinterpreted the original Pony production car as an electric vehicle concept. And, in 2022, Hyundai nodded to the coupe concept with its N Vision 74 hydrogen-hybrid ‘rolling lab' development vehicle.

Of his original design, Giugiaro said: "I designed the Hyundai Pony when I was still a young designer at the start of my career. I felt very proud that I was in charge of creating a vehicle for a company and country that was about to take on a fiercely competitive global market. Now, I'm deeply honoured that Hyundai has asked me to rebuild it for posterity and as a celebration of the brand's heritage."

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