Kia and Hyundai relationship

The South Korean auto industry is a giant and now ranks as the 5th largest in the world when compared through the number of vehicles produced in a year. The Hyundai brand is the backbone of this industry. With a humble beginning in the year 1967, and has now become a world-renowned brand. As the brand grew, it acquired many small automotive manufacturing companies and KIA is one of them. KIA corporation had its beginning in 1947 as a cycle manufacturer and now has become the second-largest auto brand in South Korea. After declaring bankruptcy in the year 1997, Hyundai motors bought 51% of the state in the KIA corporation, and now KIA is one of Hyundai’s automotive subsidiaries. So does that mean that both Hyundai and KIA are the same things? Many car buyers who are considering these South Korean brands always had this question in mind while considering their models. Though part of the same parent company, Hyundai Kia do have their share of differences.

“Kia Hyundai Rio Accent” by RL GNZLZ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As mentioned, Hyundai Kia is not the same company but a closely related business arrangement. Hyundai is just the parent company and both of the brands follow different sets of philosophies and produce different sets of wheels. Design-wise too, they share a completely different language, to keep a healthy difference between them. Take an example of  Hyundai Tucson- Kia Sportage, Santa Fe-Sorento, Verna – Rio, Palisade-Telluride, etc The same way the Lexus is to Toyota and Acura is to Honda. Having the same parent company doesn’t mean that they have no competition between them. The so-called sibling rivalry is very much present here. Although Hyundai entered the Indian market almost 2 decades ago, the relatively new KIA has already started to eat into the compact SUV sales of Hyundai.  But the combined sales in May this year, of both the brands, were able to beat the old champion, Maruti Suzuki.  

Having different philosophies and brand ideologies does not mean that they do not share anything at all. They both are a part of the same parent company, and they like to keep the costs low by sharing technologies like engines and drivetrains. Recently, Hyundai India also sought production at the sister company plant in Andhra Pradesh, as its plant was running at 100% capacity. Even the engines and transmission in Hyundai Creta and KIA Seltos are identical, making a strong relationship between Hyundai Kia. This shows that although they might be having sibling rivalry the ultimate goal is to maximize the profits of the parent company. Ultimately it’s the buyer’s market and the buyer gets the maximum benefit from having tight competition in the market as it provides the buyer with a kind of bargaining power. Both provide different options. Hyundai is a bit more premium and plush with a soft ride while KIA is relatively cheaper and has tuned more towards sporty and youthful. So are there any differences between KIA and Hyundai? Yes, but which is the best among them? That mostly depends upon the requirement of the buyer.