Is Kia and Hyundai the Same Company? (Find out now)

Last Updated on April 23, 2022 by MABER SAL

Kia Motors and Hyundai motor company are different car companies, but Hyundai has a controlling stake in Kia corporation. Both companies are under the Hyundai motor group, which has other members such as Ioniq and Genesis in the automobile sector and others in the furniture, auto parts, steel and construction sectors.

Hyundai and Kia are South Korean companies that are the largest and second-largest automobile manufacturers in that country, respectively. They are affiliated and have complex shareholding arrangements making them similar yet distinct.

This article looks at how both companies came to be and how they are affiliated. We shall look at how Hyundai came to own Kia, the brands’ differences and similarities, and how their vehicles compare. Keep reading!

Is Kia part of Hyundai?

Is Kia part of Hyundai

Yes, Kia is part of Hyundai Motor Group. Here’s how it happened; in 1988, Kia filed for bankruptcy, and Hyundai motor group bought 51% shares in the company. This purchase merged the two manufacturers under one company umbrella, but the brands continued distinctly.

Today, Hyundai owns a third of Kia’s shares, but their car designs and manufacturing are different, making them distinct in style and performance. Both brands have an interesting history since they were founded to date. They are both award-winning brands that are worth reading about.

History of Kia

Kia Motors Corporation was founded in 1944 as Kyung sung precision industry, a company manufacturing bicycle parts and steel tubing. In 1951, the company made the first bicycle for the mass market in Korea and the next year; it changed its name to Kia Industries. 

Between 1952 and 1960, Kia made motorcycle parts and assembled motorbikes for Honda. In the 1960s and 1970s, the company made cars and trucks for Mazda. In 1973, they built the Sohari plant, its first integrated automotive assembly plant. Kia built the small Mazda-based range of cars known as Brisa until 1981 when the new military dictator Chun Doo-hwan forced industry consolidation.

Kia gave up the production of passenger cars and focused entirely on light trucks. Before this shutdown, Kia had added two foreign models assembled under license; the models were the Peugeot 604 and fiat 132. Importing the kits for these models was permitted as long as Kia exported five cars for everyone model brought in. in 1986, Kia rejoined the industry and partnered with ford. They also made Mazda-derived vehicles for the budget market in South Korea and export.

In 1992, Kia Motors was incorporated in the USA, with the first Kia branded vehicles sold in the U.S. The brand became successful and one of the best-selling car brands in the country. During the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Kia declared bankruptcy, and Hyundai approached them to try and diversify by exchanging ownership between the two companies. In 1998, they reached an agreement, and Hyundai motor company acquired 51% of the company to outbid Ford Motor company.

After several divestments, Hyundai motor company now owns about a third of Kia motor corporation and is Kia’s largest stakeholder. Kia also has an ownership stake in 22 Hyundai motor company subsidiaries. Kia has focused on the European market since 2005 and has identified design as its growth vessel. In 2010, Kia opened a manufacturing plant in Georgia after 15 years of consecutive growth in the U.S. market share. 

In 2014, the company received worldwide attention when the Pope rode in their Kia Soul during his visit to South Korea. In 2016, Kia became the first non-luxury car brand to top J.D Power’s reliability list. Kia remains a reliable brand that keeps increasing its market share in the U.S. and abroad.

History of Hyundai

Hyundai was established in 1947 by Chung Ju-Yung as Hyundai Engineering and construction company. In 1967, Hyundai motor company was established, and they released their first model in conjunction with Ford Motor Company, the Cortina. 

In 1974, Hyundai released the pony, the first south Korean car, although Japan’s Mitsubishi motors provided the drivetrain technology. The pony wasn’t exported t the U.S. because it wouldn’t pass emission standards here. It was imported to Canada in 1984, and sales exceeded Hyundai’s expectations. In 1986, Hyundai started selling cars in the United States. In 1991, the company made the first proprietary, four-cylinder gas engine and transmission, thus kickstarting its technological independence. 

In 2014, Hyundai started working on improving its vehicle dynamics to become a technical leader in handling and ride quality. In 2021, the company’s profits increased by 187%, which was the highest in four years. The brand has grown immensely, and it keeps expanding to various other regions.

 Differences and similarities between Hyundai and Kia

Kia and Hyundai are affiliated, but they are not the same’ both companies operate independently, and each has a unique brand philosophy for producing their vehicles. Hyundai is the parent company of Kia motors, but these brands still compete effectively. Let’s have a look at some distinguishing factors between the two brands.

Differences between Hyundai and Kia

  • Design: Kia and Hyundai models differ greatly in their design which makes up their target market. Kia is designed to give sporty looks and leisure vibes, while Hyundai looks bold with refined curves making their vehicles feel more luxurious. 
  • Brand perception: brand perception refers to how the manufacturer wants their product to be perceived. Kia emphasizes speed, sport, and movement in their ads while Hyundai is more geared toward emerging technology, emphasizing their new hybrids and electric cars.
  • Target market: Hyundai targets customers who want luxury at an affordable price, while Kia targets those customers who love speed and being on the move with a reliable and affordable car
  • Variety: Kia has more models than Hyundai, thus giving a wide range of options. The brand currently has 18 models on sale, including SUVs, MPV, Hybrids, sedans, and electric vehicles. Hyundai has limited options, with only 13 models, including hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, E.V.s, hybrids, and fuel cell vehicles. 
  • Reliability: Hyundai and Kia models are very reliable, and they are always on the top of reliability ratings, but there has to be a winner, right? According to the J.D. power 2022 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, Kia was the most dependable brand, followed by Buick, then Hyundai came in third. 

Hyundai had three models ranked most reliable in their category; Hyundai Elantra in the compact car segment, Hyundai Sonata in the midsize car segment, and Hyundai Veloster in the compact sporty car category.

The Kia optima featured among the most reliable midsize car.

Similarities of Hyundai and Kia

It’s not a surprise that models from these brands have a lot in common; some even share a platform. Let’s look at some similarities between Kia and Hyundai.

  • Origin– the first and very obvious characteristic that both brands have is that they are South Korean companies. Hyundai is the largest automaker in South Korea, and Kia is the second largest. 
  • Platforms: most Kia models share platforms with Hyundai models. They have what is known as Hyundai-Kia K platforms which both automakers have developed to use on their automobiles since 2017.

Who has a better warranty between Kia and Hyundai?

warranty between Kia and Hyundai

Both Kia and Hyundai have reasonable warranty coverage offers, but Hyundai stands out as America’s best warranty. Below is a side-by-side comparison of Kia and Hyundai Warranties.

Warranty Hyundai Kia
Powertrain 10year/ 100,000 miles10 year/100,000 miles
New vehicle limited5 year/60,000 miles5 year/60,000 miles (basic)
Anti-perforation 7-year/ unlimited miles5year/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance5 year/ unlimited miles5year/60,000 miles
Replacement parts and accessories 12 month/12,000 mileN/A

Final word

Hyundai and Kia are different companies in the same “chaebol”; Hyundai motor group. These brands are different yet similar, and most people often want to find out if Kia and Hyundai are the same company. Now you know they are different, but they are affiliated with each other. We believe you are also well equipped to differentiate them and choose one that fits your needs best.

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