Even here in the Curbside Elysian Fields, Hyundai Excels have finally become quite rare (Update: and maybe valuable, like a Civic Si?). So when this three door hatch slipped by us the other night, I was quick on the draw. I only got one shot off before it pulled away (yes, it’s still running), but that’s enough to remind us of Hyundai’s very painful early days in the US.
After a roaring start with prices starting at $4995, setting an all-time record of 169k sales for a first year import in 1985, sales soon drooped due to serious reliability issues. By the early 90s, it looked like Hyundai might follow Yugo’s footsteps and bail from the US market. But they dig in their heels, worked on their quality, and eventually prospered. For the full story, head on over to my CC on the Excel, titled “Hyundai’s Near-Deadly Sin“.