You’re looking at a 1980s Mitsubishi Montero. Except, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that you aren’t. Closely examine the image above and you’ll see that this Montero says “Galloper” on the side. And no, that wasn’t a trim level of the Mitsubishi Montero — though I wouldn’t put it past 1980s Mitsubishi to create such a thing. Instead, it was a rebadged version of the Montero: the Hyundai Galloper.
Yes, that’s right, Hyundai sold a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi Montero, and they called it the Hyundai Galloper. I had completely forgotten about this until last week, when I posted a video of the 2002 Hyundai Equus, and I was reminded that Hyundai and Mitsubishi did a lot of automotive sharing throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and into the early 2000s. Despite its bizarre name — and its age — I saw many Galloper models when I visited Korea in 2015.
So, you might be wondering, why did this happen? Well, here’s the thing: Throughout the 1980s (and still today, but not as much), people in South Korea basically refused to buy cars that didn’t come from Korean brands. I visited Korea as a guest of Kia, and the Kia representative who was with me throughout our trip told me that in the 1990s, the Korean-brand market share in Korea was over 90 percent. Now, it’s diminished — but it’s still over 70 percent. Think about that: Over 70 percent of the cars sold in South Korea are from Korean automakers.
And so now you can start to see why the Galloper existed. At the time, Hyundai likely didn’t have the manufacturing capacity to produce an SUV, along with all their other vehicles, but they knew some Korean shoppers wanted an SUV — and they would only buy one if it had a Korean brand name. Sensing an opportunity, they leveraged their partnership with Mitsubishi and ended up with a rebadged Montero called the Galloper.
When you see these in Korea today, many of them have tire covers that say “GALLOPER” in large print, complete with a graphic of a horse. Just another strange entry into the weird world of 1980s automotive rebadging. Find a Mitsubishi Montero for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
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