The Hyundai Grandeur is a mid-size/full-size sedan manufactured and marketed globally by Hyundai Motor Company since 1986. The Grandeur has evolved through five generations with intermediate restylings, and is marketed under various nameplates worldwide — prominently as the Hyundai Azera. As the Azera, it was considered the flagship model of Hyundai’s United States lineup until the arrival of the Genesis sedan. Currently the Azera slots between the midsize Sonata and the Genesis sedan.
The first Grandeur was a rebadged Mitsubishi Debonair produced by Hyundai. Initially launched with Mitsubishi-sourced 2.0L SOHC MPI version of the engine used in the first generation Sonata, a 2.4 L SOHC MPI engine was added in 1987. A V6 3.0 L engined model was launched in 1991 to better compete with the Daewoo Imperial.
Before the 1988 Seoul Olympics, most of the luxury car market of South Korea was held by Daewoo Motors and its Royale Series. From 1978, Hyundai built its luxury car, Ford Granada Mark II, in Korea but the competition with Daewoo Royale seemed that it already had ended. As Hyundai was looking for entering luxury car market, it tried to make its own luxury car. However, as Daewoo Motors had much more powerful brand than Hyundai, it was difficult to do such an adventure. At last, it decided to make one, borrowing the platform, technology, and internal configuration from Mitsubishi Motors.
In the early eighties, Mitsubishi Motors also wanted to renew its own Mitsubishi Debonair, since the model was too old (presented in 1964). As Hyundai offered a relationship of sharing technologies and innovations, it accepted Hyundai’s offer, giving its platform, internal configuration, and most importantly, engine. As Hyundai was an official sponsor of 1988 Seoul Olympics, it used this opportunity to notify all the executives and important people about their new car, Grandeur. Because of its brand lent from Mitsubishi and good quality, it became very popular in Korea.
Also called “Gak (angle)-Grandeur”, it succeeded Ford Granada Mark II. Before the 1988 Summer Olympics, the official sponsor Hyundai Motor co-developed it with Mitsubishi Motors of Japan, and launched it in July, 1986. The design was done by Hyundai Motors, but the internal configuration was done by Mitsubishi. It was the second FF layout model in Korea after Hyundai Excel. Originally, only a four-cylinder 2,000 cc engine and manual transmission were offered, but later a 2,400 cc engine, a V6 3,000 cc engine, and automatic transmission were equipped.
By the change, Grandeur buyers were extended from normal CEOs and businessmen to even gangsters, and it became Korea’s bestselling large car by a considerable margin. It was also sold in Japan as the Mitsubishi Debonair V, but the demanding class was already absorbed by the Toyota Crown and Honda Legend and the Debonair was not competitive.
Taillight design was changed in 1989, and ABS first became available in 1991. It had 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual transmission. It was discontinued in September 1992, after 122,074 had been built.