Weird, absurd, and ridiculous car commercials #5: Hyundai Elantra
Featuring Autobahn... and Porsche 911 Turbo (964)?!?
I'm finally now able to discuss about this commercial - the commercial that made me start this series. I'm hoping this commercial can shock all the DriveTribers out there...
It was back in 1991, and Hyundai was marketing their new subcompact car, Elantra, as a sports sedan (after a vague campaign of 'Human-touch sedan'). Its 126 PS, 15.3 kg*m 1.6ℓ Sirius DOHC engine might not seem any spectacular today, but back then the Elantra was one of the sportiest cars in South Korea. Having its body and powertrain based on Mitsubishi Lancer and doing an actual top speed of over 190 kph made the Elantra live up to its 'High-performance sedan' slogan.
Well, but maybe not this much though. The commercial begins with the Elantra rushing through Germany, and a driver suddenly getting into his 911 Turbo (964). After a narrator explains Autobahn a place for 'unlimited speed, maximum power', the Elantra and the 911 Turbo (964) do... a 'breathtaking' race. The commercial ends with the line 'Driving with the world's finest automobiles - High-performance Elantra' and the iconic thumbs-up from the Porsche driver.
I hope we can all agree on this commercial being the 'finest' overstatement of Elantra's performance. If the commercial used Golf GTi as a competitor, maybe it could have much more persuasion... but I guess the producers wanted the maximum impact - to the point of pure unrealism.
Of course, this was taken as a joke as soon as it was aired. Many people jokingly said that the thumbs-up from the Porsche driver meant 'I only drove in first gear', and the commercial itself became a meme - a meme that is still relevant to this date. In 2019, Hyundai remade this commercial at Jayu-ro, South Korea using RC cars.