Koreans prefer Kia over Hyundai, Kia Sorento and Kia Carnival leads 2022 sales tally

Provisional data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) say that South Korea’s domestic car manufacturers sold a total of 1,395,297 vehicles in 2022. The figure excludes sales of imported foreign brand cars, which is compiled separately by the Korea Automotive Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA). Automotive imports for Korea in 2022 is estimated to be at around 300,000 units, led by Mercedes-Benz.

Of the 1,395,297 domestic vehicles sold by Hyundai, Kia, GM Korea (formerly Daewoo Motor), Renault Korea (formerly Samsung Motors), and Ssangyong Motors, 88 percent is controlled by Hyundai and Kia, both part of the Hyundai Motor Group.

Hyundai leads, with 688,884 units, down 5.2 percent due to on-going supply chain issues. Kia follows with 541,068 units but unlike its sister-company Hyundai, Kia registered a marginal 1.1 percent growth despite challenges from unstable supply chains.

The best-selling car is Korea isn’t really a car in a traditional sense, but a commercial use-only Hyundai Porter pick-up truck, with 92,411 units. This includes 20,418 units of the Porter Electric.

The best-selling passenger car is the Kia Sorento, with 68,902 units, coming in second place. Korea’s automotive market is unlike that of many other countries. Instead of cheap commuter-type small cars leading the sales charts, higher priced cars dominate.

The simple reason is because public transport there is very well developed and if someone is to buy a car, it will be a lifestyle-driven purchase, which explains why a Kia Sorento more than twice as much as a Kia Picanto (29,380 units).

Third place is Hyundai Grandeur, with 67,030 units. Fourth is the Kia Bongo, a sister-truck of the Hyundai Porter, with 64,826 units. The Kia Carnival rounded up the top 5 positions, with 59,058 units.

Sorento’s interior

If you are wondering how is it that Hyundai sells more cars but the title of this post says Koreans prefer Kia, that’s because a large chunk of Hyundai’s sales come from fleet and commercial vehicle sales.

The Hyundai Avante (Elantra) and Hyundai Sonata for example, with 58,743 units and 48,308 units respectively, are mainly pushed out through corporate fleets, rental, or taxi companies channels.

Both the Kia Sorento and Kia Carnival are mainly bought by private individuals, and they outsell their Hyundai equivalents.

The Kia Sportage (55,394 units) outsells its sister-car the Hyundai Tucson (32,890 units). Likewise the Kia Carnival (59,058 units) and Hyundai Staria (33,459 units), Kia Niro (29,941 units) and Hyundai Kona (8,388 units), Kia Sorento (68,902 units) and Hyundai Santa Fe (28.705 units).

Kia’s brand image perception is also different from Hyundai, with a more youthful vibe, and Kia’s recent revamp to adopt a new Instagram-friendly 2D-logo and dropping the word ‘Motor’ from its company name, is hitting the right notes with lifestyle-oriented buyers in Korea.

Closer to Malaysia, Bermaz’s subsidiary Dinamikjaya Motors sells only 2 Kia models – the Kia EV6 (from RM 306,668) and the Kia Carnival (from RM 196,340 to RM 261,228), both have a long waiting list, despite their premium pricing.

There are plans to introduce the Sorento here later this year, possibly including a hybrid variant.

Also read: CKD Kia Sorento (MQ4) confirmed for Malaysia – Coming in 2023?

Source: Koreans prefer Kia over Hyundai, Kia Sorento and Kia Carnival leads 2022 sales tally

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