Kia Sorento. [Photo by Kia Corp.]
South Korea’s Kia Corp. no longer can be referred as a smaller sibling to Hyundai Motor Co. as its SUV-strong lineup has been outselling Hyundai cars and is set to finish the year as the No. 1 finished car brand.
If it does, Kia would be outperforming Hyundai in car sales at home for the first time since it went under Hyundai Motor Group in 1998.
According to the two companies on Thursday, Kia sold a total of 313,887 vehicles at home in the first seven months, slightly above Hyundai Motor’s 313,030 units.
Kia would have comfortably outpaced Hyundai in passenger cars as Hyundai Motor’s monthly commercial vehicle sales are about 1,000-2,000 units larger than Kia’s. Last month, Kia sold 51,355 cars in Korea, its fourth-largest monthly record since 2000.
The carmaker changed its corporate name to Kia from Kia Motors in January last year, with a new emblem in modern design, to accentuate shift toward electrification and innovation. Its family car flagships Sportage, Sorento and Carnival have gained stream since then.
Kia appeals to a wide range of consumers from smallest Morning and Ray to sedans K3, K5, K8, K9 and Stinger on top of highly-popular RVs Seltos, Niro, Sportage, Sorento, Mohave and Carnival.
Kia RV sales started soaring in 2021. The new Sportage and Sorento sales exceeded those of Hyundai rivals Tucson and Santa Fe. Its family-size van Carnival also outperformed Hyundai’s No. 1 SUV Palisade by sales.
On the top five best-selling models list in the January-July period, Sorento ranked second, Carnival third, and Sportage fifth.
“Since the release of the K5, Kia has succeeded in adding luxury appeal,” said an industry official.
Kia’s ascent may be unstoppable on strong demand for Sorento and other SUV models. Expectations for the upcoming all-electric SUV EV9 are also high after the successful debut of its first full-electric vehicle EV6.
To further underscore popularity of Kia cars, used cars in popular SUV models are being sold at higher prices than new versions amid frustratingly delayed delivery from chip shortages. Second-hand Sorento 2.5T Gasoline 2WD Noblesse 2022 is priced at 39.42 million won ($30,369.80), 3.46 million won higher than the new one. As for Carnival Diesel 2.2 Signature 2022, used car is priced 2.96 million won higher than a new model.
By Won Ho-sup and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]