Home Automotive AdviceMotoring History Kia Owns Hyundai – Is There Some Sibling Rivalry Here?

Kia Owns Hyundai – Is There Some Sibling Rivalry Here?

by Jordan Harris
Kia Owns Hyundai

Are you planning to purchase a new or used car and you are asking yourself the question of whether Kia owns Hyundai or Hyundai owns Kia? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we will learn everything you need to know about these two companies.

Buying a new or a used car can get really tricky sometimes because there are countless brands and you just don’t know which brand to go for.

Some people would say that you should run away from some brand. On the other hand, there are so satisfied customers that only purchase a car from that specific brand. And frankly, a lot of people who tried a Hyundai car came back. Sometimes though, people want to try something new but not that different.

And you have probably heard that this company is somehow connected with Kia. So, you are probably asking yourself if Kia owns Hyundai or if it is the complete opposite? Well, more on this topic and overall when it comes to these two brands we are going to cover later in the article.

First, we are going to learn who makes Kia and Hyundai and whether or not Kia owns Hyundai. Then we will learn if they are the same company and we will compare these two companies and models in a few aspects. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Who Makes Kia

Now before we learn if Kia owns Hyundai, let’s take a look at the Kia brand and learn more about it. What are Kia and its history? Let’s elaborate in detail.

Kia is a company from Seoul, South Korea. They are the second-largest carmaker in this country right after the Hyundai brand.

This company was founded in 1944 and since then has evolved immensely and has become one of the largest carmakers in the world.

In the early beginnings, this company manufactured steel tubing as well as bicycle parts. But since 1952, they have started producing motorcycles under license from Honda as well as Mazda cars and trucks.

The first Kia automotive assembly plant was opened in 1973 and produced Mazda models. As well as some of the Fiat and Peugeot models.

But since 1986 they have started making their own models. Namely, the Kia Pride. And its partnership with Ford has allowed Kia to enter the US market with the Kia Sephia and the Sportage models. They opened their first factory in West Point, Georgia and since then their share in the US market is steadily increasing.

Nowadays, Kia has a large offering of models that fit most people’s needs. They offer sedans and crossover SUVs. But does Kia owns Hyundai? More on that we are going to cover later on. Now let’s learn more about the Hyundai brand.

Who Makes Hyundai

Now before we learn if Kia owns Hyundai or the opposite, let’s take a look at who makes Hyundai and learn more about their history.

Hyundai, similarly to Kia is a Korean car manufacturer and in fact, Hyundai is the largest carmaker in South Korea.

They were founded in 1967, so we can say that they are a rather younger company than Kia. But this doesn’t mean that they are less successful. Their factory in Ulsan, South Korea is making more than 1.6 million cars a year. And frankly, this is a rather crazy number when you imagine how many cars we are talking about here.

Similar to Kia, the Hyundai brand has begun selling its cars in the 80s. More precisely, it was in 1986 when they first started selling their cars in the US. More precisely, Hyundai Excel was according to Fortune magazine the best product that you could afford when it comes to affordability.

Soon after, the midsize Sonata was introduced to the US market and the rest is history. Currently in the US Hyundai is assembling about 300,000 units.

Its main assembly plant is the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama located in Montgomery, Alabama. This factory assembles the Sonata, Elantra, Tucson, Santa Fe, and Santa Cruz, models.

Also, they have an assembly plant in Bromont, Quebec which has an output of 2000 Sonata models per week. Overall, the business in the US is relatively strong, and more and more people are deciding to get a Hyundai for themselves.

Since there are hardly any better value cars than these two makes that we discuss in this article. But does Kia owns Hyundai? More on that we are going to cover next.

Does Kia Own Hyundai

Now let’s get to business and learn if Kia owns Hyundai. I bet that there are a ton of people asking this question and this is why we are writing this article to explain the situation in order for you to avoid confusion.

So, is this the case? So, Kia owns Hyundai? Well, not quite. They are connected but Hyundai does not own Kia.

Even though they are fairly connected and share a lot of assets, these two companies are working fairly independently from each other.

Kia Owns Hyundai

The company that in reality has a stake in the other is Hyundai. Hyundai controls about 33.8% of the shares in Kia. So, we can conclude that it is completely the opposite and conclude that Hyundai is the big player that has a large stake in the Kia Corporation.

This stake is not a lot by any means. It is far from the 51% of the stake needed to control a company. This is more like a partnership of sharing technologies between the companies so they develop better and create more jobs for people.

Not to forget that they employ a ton of people here in the US and these companies are basically moving not only the Korean economy but also the American economy as well. So, we hope that we gave you a good answer to the question of if Kia owns Hyundai.

Are Kia And Hyundai The Same Company

Another question besides the one if Kia owns Hyundai is the question of whether are they the same company or not? What is the real picture here? Are they the same thing or not?

The answer is no, they are not the same company. They share a lot of technologies between them like the vehicle platforms, the engines, and machining processes. But they are not the same thing.

Kia has separate factories and Hyundai has separate factories. Their cars do not drive off the same production line.

Kia Owns Hyundai

Hyundai has a factory in Montgomery, Alabama. While the production line for Kia models is in West Point, Georgia.

Another thing to add is that even though Hyundai has a large stake in the Kia Corporation, they do not have an overwhelming presence that will make all decisions theirs. So, considering this, we can say that they are different companies and they only share the know-how to make cars and that’s all.

Now as we cleared if Kia owns Hyundai, let’s move on and compare these two brands in a few different categories in the following chapters.

Kia VS Hyundai

Now let’s discuss more about Kia VS Hyundai. We learned the answer to the question of whether Kia owns Hyundai and now we can move on to other topics and learn how these two brands compare.

Even though these two brands are sister brands and share a lot of the technologies that they offer, on the market they are real competitors.

Even though they have slight differences in approach, they generally target the same audience. But some people prefer one thing over the other.

So, when it comes to Kia, we can say that their models are really sporty looking. They have that sporty vibe that is aggressive and looks phenomenal. Especially the Kia Stinger or the Kia Optima.

For example, put the Optima next to the Hyundai Sonata. Even though they are basically the same car under the skin, when it comes to the visual aspect, they are worlds apart.

The Optima has sharp lines and looks really aggressive, while the Sonata is more elegant looking. So, you probably connected the dots in your mind.

The Optima is more focused on the younger audience or the people who want to experience the performance from the car. While the Sonata is more like a type of car for the retired grandpa.

The same is for the other models. You go for the Hyundais for the elegance and luxury and you go for the Kia for the aggressiveness and performance that these cars offer. So, we learned if Kia owns Hyundai, now let’s discuss more of the Kia models that are available on the market right now.

Kia SUV Models

We learned if Kia owns Hyundai, now let’s discuss more about the models that Kia offers. We will primarily focus on the SUV models because these cars are one of the best sellers on the market right now. And frankly, both Kia and Hyundai have a ton of models to offer in this segment.

When it comes to Kia, it is worth noting that there are a total of six different models when it comes to the SUV segment. They have an option for anyone out there and also, their cars are all sporty and neat looking.

The smallest in the offering is the Kia Soul. The Soul is made for the people who want something from the subcompact segment. This model starts at about $19,800 and is frankly one of the most affordable offerings out there.

Another subcompact crossover that Kia offers is the Kia Seltos. The Seltos is basically the off-road crossover in their lineup and this model is slightly bigger than the Soul. The Seltos start at about $22,840.

Then we move to the bigger models. The next on our list is the Kia Niro. The Niro is a compact crossover. Quite similar to the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. This model starts at about $24,700.

The next bigger model is the Kia Sportage. You are probably familiar with this model and frankly, it is one of the most legendary Kia models out there. This model is a bit bigger than the Niro but still a compact crossover. The price for this model starts at $25,999.

The next model on our list is the Kia Sorento. This is a mid-size SUV that starts at $29,999. And the biggest model that Kia offers is the Telluride. This model starts at $33,500.

Hyundai SUV Models

Now as we know if Kia owns Hyundai, we can cover the Hyundai models that are sold in the US in the SUV segment. What is worth noting is that Hyundai basically offers the same models in a different packages. And frankly, it is not something like in the case with GMC and Chevy.

Hyundai really puts a big effort into this. The cars from the two brands look really different and unique, which is a really good thing.

Nevertheless, the smallest SUV made by Hyundai is the Hyundai Venue, which is basically in the same class as the Kia Soul. It starts at $19,000.

Then there is its bigger brother the Kona. The Kona is a model in the same class as the Kia Seltos, a bit bigger than the Venue. This model starts at $21,300.

Now let’s move into the compact category, and in this category one of the most popular models on the market is the Tucson. The Tucson starts at $25,800. But if you opt for the hybrid or plug-in hybrid you can expect to spend about $30,000 and $35,000 respectively.

In the mid-size segment, the main model that Hyundai offers is the Santa Fe. The Santa Fe is a neat-looking SUV. This model starts at $27,000. Or if you go for a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid, you can expect to spend about $35,000 and $40,000 respectively.

And the biggest model in the SUV segment that Hyundai has to offer is the Palisade. This is for the people who want something bigger than the Santa Fe. This model starts at $33,600. So, we learned the models and if Kia owns Hyundai, now let’s move to another topic.

Kia Seltos VS Hyundai Tucson

We learned if Kia owns Hyundai now let’s make a comparison between two models that are made by these two manufacturers. And these are the Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Tucson. Why we are making this comparison? Well, because people asked for it.

There are a ton of people who consider these two models and in this chapter, we are going to clarify which is better. So, let’s begin.

When it comes to these models, we need to clarify something. And that is that these two models do not fall in the same category. The Seltos is considerably smaller than the Tucson. The Seltos is a subcompact while the Tucson is a compact crossover SUV.

And this increase in size is putting the Tucson at an advantage. Another thing that gives the Tucson the upper hand is the bigger options when it comes to engines and trim levels.

Kia Owns Hyundai

The Seltos come with only two engines. A 2.0L inline-4 and a 1.6 inline-4 that is turbocharged. The Tucson, on the other hand, has these engines and on top of that, it has a more powerful 2.5L inline-4 engine.

And another benefit with the Tucson is that you can purchase this model in a variety of different trim levels. While the Seltos only have a handful of trims.

In addition to this, the Tucson comes as a hybrid. While the Seltos doesn’t have that option available. So, considering this, in all aspects the winner is the Tucson. Except for the price.

The price of the Seltos is considerably lower than the one of the Tucson, and for a reason. With the Seltos you basically get a smaller car. So, our vote goes for the Tucson. So, we learned if Kia owns Hyundai, now let’s move on to the next chapter.

Hyundai Sonata VS Kia Optima

Now let’s make a proper comparison of vehicles that are on the same level of performance. We covered if Kia owns Hyundai, now let’s discuss another important issue and that is the Sonata vs Optima. Which model is better? Let’s elaborate.

Both the Kia Optima/K5 and the Sonata are falling in the same category. They are built on the same platform and are sharing a lot of the components among them.

In the past, until 2020, the Kia model was called Optima. But recently, this name was changed and now it is known as the K5. So, don’t be confused because of the naming conventions.

Automaker companies conglomerate corporation merger alliance partnership

These two models are basically interchangeable, the dimensions are pretty much the same. Also, they both have the same 1.6L turbo and 2.5L turbo respectively, as well as the same transmissions.

The only changes are in the little things, and that is the styling. They have different styling and they appeal to different audiences.

The Optima/K5 is far more sporty and aggressive. While the Sonata is more subtle and elegant. So, the choice falls in what you prefer most. If you want something sporty, go for the Optima.

If you want something more elegant and luxurious, you can go for the Sonata. Personally, I would go for the new K5 model of the Optima. It is really good-looking and aggressive.

What is good though is that both of them are fairly new models that were released last year. So, you just can’t regret choosing any one of them. We learned if Kia owns Hyundai, now let’s discuss another topic.

Kia VS Hyundai Reliability

Now as we mentioned, if Kia owns Hyundai, we can start discussing more about the reliability. Which brand is more reliable than the other? Let’s elaborate.

When it comes to reliability, they are basically on the same level. They share a ton of the components interchangeably. So, if the engines on one of the companies are bad, then the engines on the other as well going to be bad. You get the point.

What is good though, is that both of them have good reliability scores. And these scores are really favorable. But we can say that Hyundai according to J.D Power is in a small lead. Maybe because they are longer here on the market and they simply are making better quality cars.

Also, dealership service is really important when it comes to cars. This is why Hyundai is seven places above Kia in the overall rankings according to the Associate Sales Satisfaction Index Study and J.D Power. If you want better service at the dealership, then going for a Hyundai is a no-brainer decision.

Hyundai and Kia: What’s the Difference? – Facts

  1. Hyundai and Kia are both part of the wider Hyundai chaebol, a structure somewhat similar to the Japanese keiretsu.
  2. The companies own a part of each other, with Hyundai directly owning 33.9 per cent of all Kia shares.
  3. Both companies are considered to be mainstream brands and are consistently within the Top 10 brands on the sales charts in Australia.
  4. Kia actually outsold Hyundai in May 2021 in Australia.
  5. Despite being the smaller company, Kia is actually the older of the two brands.
  6. Kia initially focused on increasing the mobility and improving the infrastructure of a war-ravaged Korea through the production of bicycles and steel tubing.
  7. Hyundai focused on passenger cars and set about building one of the first independently-designed and manufactured South Korean vehicles.
  8. Both Hyundai and Kia have progressed in leaps and bounds over the last 20 years and dispelled any remaining notions of the mediocre, ‘cheap and cheerful’ cars.
  9. Although Hyundai technically retains only a minority stake in Kia, both brands share ‘under the skin’ mechanical components.
  10. Both Hyundai and Kia have rapidly expanded into the electric vehicle sector with models adapted from combustion-engine platforms and are also rolling out a wide range of models on a dedicated all-electric platform called E-GMP.


In this article, we covered quite a bit when it comes to the two Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia. First, we learned about the companies and their history. Then we learned if Kia owns Hyundai.

After that, we compared the two brands side by side. Both in terms of model offerings, especially in the SUV segment, as well as offerings in other segments. In addition to this, we discussed the reliability and learned which one of them is a more reliable vehicle.


Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Who Owns Kia

Kia is owned by Kia. They are an independent company. What is good to know is that Hyundai is a big shareholder in Kia with 33% of the shares belonging to them. Because of this, these two carmakers are sharing a ton of know-how on building cars.

Where Is Kia Made

Their models are made in the factory in West Point Georgia. In Georgia, the Telluride, Optima, Sorento, and K5 are produced. In Mexico, the Rio and Forte are produced. Their other factories are located in Korea where the rest of the models are made.

What Does GDI Mean On A Kia

GDI is basically a fancy abbreviation for Gasoline Direct Injection. Their engines are GDI which means that there is a separate injector that injects the fuel into the cylinder. Unlike on older engines where the fuel comes down from the intake ports.

Who Owns Hyundai

They are an independent company. Hyundai are not owned by anyone. They in fact own a big share in Kia. About 33% to be more precise.

Are Hyundai Good Cars

Yes, they are fairly good cars. Hyundais are really loved because of their value. They are really affordable and they deliver a lot for what you pay.

Why Are Hyundais So Cheap

They are cheap because the company focuses to deliver the cheapest vehicles possible from any competitor. They aim to give the buyer a good value for their money. The company has minimal profit from each vehicle and they invest this profit into creating new models and diversifying their lineup.

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