When Jerry Flannery went to work as an in-house lawyer for Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley, California in 1987, the South Korean car maker was entering the U.S. market with a modest, 68-horsepower compact called the Excel. It sold for $4,995. 

Flannery and Hyundai have come a long way together since those early days. He worked his way up to chief legal officer, filled in as CEO for a time, established the company’s U.S. safety office and served as Hyundai’s first chief safety officer. 

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