The Pony was presented at the Turin Motor Show in October 1974, and the car was introduced in December 1975 as a 4-door sedan. Hyundai began exporting the Pony to Ecuador in 1976. In 1978, Hyundai began exporting to Europe, starting with Belgium and the Netherlands. Later on, the Pony was exported to Greece. A pickup truck version was added in May 1976, a station wagon in April 1977, and a 3-door hatchback in March 1980.
In January 1982, the Pony II was presented. It was a facelift from the previous model. Quoting a sales brochure: "You'll see New Pony luxury in such things as rectangular halogen headlamps, fitted in a smart new radiator grille. You'll see it in the wrap-around indicators, completely re-styled rear lamp clusters and neatly designed instrument panel with easy-to-read gauges. These new refinements are just part of many distinctive features of the New Pony." the Pony II was only available in 5-door hatchback, and 2-door pickup versions. With the Pony II, export also began to the United Kingdom in 1982. The Pony was also exported to Canada from 1983, but not to the United States because the Pony didn't pass emissions standards there. Canadian sales greatly exceeded expectations, and it was at one point the top-selling car on the Canadian market. The Pony afforded a much higher degree of quality and refinement in the lowest price auto segment than the Eastern-bloc imports of the period then available.
Canadian-spec (Non-ECC LHD) Pony
The Canadian version of the Pony had to be changed slightly to meet standards of that country. the Pony was released for sale in Canada for the 1984 model year and ended in 1987. Differences between the Canadian Pony versus its European counterparts were left hand drive, 8 km/h bumpers, sealed-beam headlights, different locations of marker lamps, and slight alterations in interior instrumentation and trim application. Initial projections for 1984 called for 5,000 sales, but the final total was an astounding 50,000, and it incredibly became Canada's best selling car that year.