Kia and Hyundai: Sister Companies

Here at Butler Hyundai, we’re no stranger to dispelling common conceptions about the cars we sell; the Hyundais that were on the road when many of us were learning to drive have practically nothing in common with the Hyundais we sell today, from quality to styling to price point, and old ideas die hard.

As both Kia and Hyundai continue to step up their game year after year, we’ve become acquainted with a new common misconception, usually posed in the form of a question: “Hyundai owns Kia, right?” It’s a hard question to answer because it’s not quite true, but not entirely false. Here’s the nitty gritty on the relationship between the Hyundai and Kia lines, broken down as simply as we can.

In the late 90s, Hyundai Motor Group purchased 51% of Kia, which was a controlling interest. Currently, Hyundai owns just under a third of Kia, which means that while Kia is an affiliate of Hyundai, it operates on its own, making its own design, marketing, and distribution decisions.

The two are sister companies, but Hyundai has said that it thinks of Kia like it would any other competitor; many of their cars share components, manufacturing facilities, and platforms, but they aim to make distinctive vehicles to meet consumer needs in different ways.

So does Hyundai own Kia? Not exactly. But it owns a good portion of Kia, and the two companies are both stronger for it.