Kia Motors has been expanding its business across the globe in recent years with its exciting and affordable line ups. There are Stinger the 5-door fastback Stinger, Picanto the compact city car, and Carens the iconic SUV to name a few. The name Kia doesn’t ring a bell to many people, because there are very little things to know about the company itself. Who is Kia owned by? How long has it been around?
To answer those questions, and some others, follow these 7 interesting facts about Kia Motors.
1. Kia is a subsidiary of Hyundai
First off, who is Kia owned by in recent times? Along with the Genesis brand, Kia Motors is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, with 33.88% of its stake owned by Hyundai. The overall motor group is comparable to General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen, Groupe PSA, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to name a few. If anything, Hyundai Motor Group is among the top 5 global multinational corporations among those companies.
2. Kia is the oldest car manufacturer in South Korea
Despite being a subsidiary of Hyundai, Kia Motors is South Korea’s first carmaker. Founded as Kyungsung Precision Industry in 1944, it first produced bicycle parts and later built Honda bikes in 1957. However, the fact that Hyundai sold South Korea’s first national car in 1975 also holds true.
3. Kia Sportage introduced the brand to the US market in 1992
US market has been known for being a harsh and competitive automotive market for ages. Even so, Kia Motors managed to pass through the competition thanks to its Sportage and Sephia line ups in 1992. Since then, Kia becomes well-known for selling an economical and versatile array of car models in the US.
4. Ford was about to bid Kia’s stake during Asia’s financial crisis
The question of who is Kia owned by might’ve been answered differently had Ford owned more fund to bid the South Korean automobile company. It happened in 1997 when Asia’s financial crisis reached its peak and Kia declared bankruptcy. However, Ford failed to do so when Hyundai bought 51% of the company’s stake in 1998.
5. An ex-Audi designer helped reshape Kia’s future on Europe
What’s even more challenging than the US market is the European market, and Kia had to struggle to sell well in Europe. Fortunately, the sale succeeded, and the tip of the iceberg is that Kia managed to hire an ex-Audi designer, Peter Schreyer. As a result, Kia developed the ‘Tiger-Nose’ front design akin to Audi and BMW and continues to play a major role in the company’s car designs.
Speaking of Schreyer, those achievements turned him into Kia’s design chief and one of Kia Motors’ three presidents until 2018.
6. Kia is one of the fastest-growing brands
In 2016, Kia Motors was reported to sell over 3 million cars globally, making it one of the fastest-growing brands among the global market. It is interesting to note because the sale number is independent of Hyundai and that both companies are competing against each other.
7. Kia is NOT Hyundai
After you know who is Kia owned by, you must’ve assumed that Kia is the same as Hyundai, correct? Well, truth is, not really because the only things they share are the components and platforms. Overall, there are no sharing of any sort of visible parts or cross-badging—every manufacturer has its unique line ups. So, Kia is not Hyundai by any means.
Now you know who is Kia owned by
Also, interesting facts are surrounding Kia Motors that help the company become what it is now. Regardless, by now you must’ve realized who is Kia owned by, and that is Hyundai by 33.88%. But even so, there are notable differences between the products of Kia and Hyundai that make each brand unique. Who knows, maybe after knowing all the facts, you’re now taking more interest in buying Kia cars.