Hyundai and Kia: Sisters, But Not Twins!

By: Integrity Hyundai   |   20 Mar 2017
Hyundai and Kia

Have you ever known two people who are so close you can’t tell if they’re just friends, or siblings?

Hyundai and Kia are kind of the same way

Although both automotive brands are different, their close relationship over the years has not just some, but many people confused as to whether or not they are just one giant company

Hyundai and Kia are actually sister companies, and both operate out of South Korea. Both are known for producing high-quality, efficient vehicles that are economical and affordable, making them a hit amongst drivers in North America and around the world.

Like any significant relationship, the Hyundai history is a bit complicated. So, let’s explain!

A Quick Backstory

Hyundai Motor Company was founded in 1967 along with its 32.8% owned subsidiary, Kia Motors. Together, they make up the Hyundai Motor Group, which was the world’s fifth-largest automobile group in the world, as of 2012.

As a separate entity, Hyundai is the fourth largest vehicle manufacturer in the world. In 1998, after a series of successful operations in India and the United States, Hyundai attempted to distance itself from its parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, with the hopes of being recognized as a world-class brand.

Twenty-three years before Hyundai Motor Company was founded, Kia Motor Group was already making its mark in South Korea, operating under the name Kyungsung Precision Industry. By 1951, the company had produced the first domestic bicycle in South Korea, and the following year, changed its name to Kia Industries.

Over the years, Kia manufactured a series of small vehicles, until 1981 when a new dictator brought automotive manufacturing to a stand-still. Before the forced shutdown, Kia produced one of its most popular models to date, the Fiat 132.

Kia Motors rejoined the automotive market in 1986, with only 26 cars manufactured in a year. By 1992, the brand saturated the United States, but tragedy struck again during the Asian Financial Crisis and Kia declared bankruptcy in 1997.

Hyundai to the Rescue

In 1998, Hyundai Motor Company came to the rescue of Kia Motors, by acquiring 51% of the company. To date, Hyundai Motor Company owns about one-third (33.88%) of Kia Motor Corporation and remains Kia’s largest stakeholder. In return, Kia Motors owns approximately 22 different Hyundai Motor subsidiaries.

As sister companies, both Hyundai and Kia work together, but under separate brand entities, to pull in impressive brand revenues that continue to grow every year. Without Kia Motors, Hyundai sold 4.4 million vehicles worldwide in 2012, and with Kia Motors, sold 7.12 million.

To date, Hyundai has six research and development centres in South Korea, Germany, Japan, and India. The brand continues to invest heavily in superior technological design, quality, and long-term research of its vehicles. Hyundai began producing hybrid electric vehicles in 2009 and as of March 2014, has sold 200,000 hybrids, including models from Hyundai and Kia.

The Hyundai brand continues to be a leader in the Canadian automotive market thanks to its ability to manufacture smart, affordable vehicles. Today, these include compact sedans, hatchbacks, and sports cars, like the 2017 Hyundai Elantra, which earned a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS, and SUVs like the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, which also earned a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Hyundai also continues to develop efficient concept cars, which is where popular hybrids like the 2017 Sonata Electric come into play.

Though they rely on each other for paramount success, both Hyundai and Kia continue to produce different vehicles that in some cases, compete with each other. Are you interested in learning more about the Hyundai brand? Check out our Hyundai Showroom, where you’ll find all the best new Hyundai cars and new Hyundai SUVs. See something you like? Shop our Hyundai inventory and remember to check out our used Hyundai vehicles for sale for even more selection at a great price. Call us at 1-(877) 562-5306 or contact us online for further assistance.

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