People laughed when Hyundai entered the U.S. market back in 1985 with its $4,995 Excel. That laughter diminished a bit when nearly 170,000 of them sold the first year. Then, two years later, when it turned out what the Hyundai really excelled at was embodying the literal equivalent of the old FORD acronym (Found On the Road Dead) the laughter resumed.
Undaunted, Hyundai soldiered on, gradually improving styling, quality, reliability and, lately, designing its own engines and transmissions, too. Then, when the bottom fell out of the economy a few years ago, the only car company still managing a smile, actually no, make that outright laughter, was Hyundai — all the way to the bank.
One of the rare car companies to actually improve its sales position during the merciless morass of miscues passing for economic policy these days, Hyundai finds itself in a rather unique position. Flush with cash and egged on by a legion of loyal new fans, the company can afford to take some risks, think outside the box, do something crazy, like, say, put two doors on one side of a car and just one on the other.
With that, we get Veloster, the name of which is an amalgamation of the words “Velocity” and “Roadster”; neither of which apply to the car actually, but hey — we’re getting ahead of ourselves.