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Does Hyundai Own Kia Motors of America?

Kia and Hyundai are both carmakers with models all over American roads. Each of these auto companies has roots in South Korea. Both brands have grown up over the years and today they are recognized globally. In fact, Kia won the World Car of the Year award this year, and its models top several best lists. Kia is a Korean car company on the rise and it isn’t what it used to be. So, who is getting a piece of that pie? Does Hyundai own Kia?

A shipment of Kia cars waiting to be load
A shipment of Kia cars | Seung-il Ryu/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kia Motors bankruptcy

In 1997, there was an Asian financial crisis, according to the Kia Motors Wikipedia page. Kia made an agreement with Hyundai Motor Company for a certain exchange of ownership between the two carmakers. This agreement took place in 1998. Hyundai Motor Company gained 51% of Kia after outbidding Ford Motor Company. Ford owned significant Kia interest since 1986, however, the 1998 Hyundai deal changed that and the company became a wholly Korean car company.

Hyundai
Hyundai | MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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Who owns Kia?

There have been divestments and trades to follow. We all know automotive industry finances are complicated at best. Today, as of December 31, 2015, Hyundai Motor Company owns 33.88% of Kia Motors interest. Today, Kia’s largest stakeholder is Hyundai Motor Company. Additionally, however, Kia Motors owns stakes in 22 different Hyundai companies.

So who owns Kia? According to Consumer Reports, it is, in fact, Hyundai Motor Group. However, Kia also owns bits and pieces of Hyundai.

The rear view of a dark-blue 2022 Kia Stinger
2022 Kia Stinger rear | Motor Trend via Instagram

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Production in America

In 1992, Kia Motors America established in Irvine California on October 21, 1992. From then on American Kia sales, marketing etc. has lead from this headquarters. According to Wikipedia, Kia sells vehicles out of over 755 dealers across the United States. The first two official Kia brand vehicles ever sold in America were the Kia Sportage 4×4 and the Kia Sephia.

These models, sold in 1993, came from four dealerships in Portland, Oregon. After that, Kia grew to its vast nationwide presence. More recently, the Kia Stinger and the Kia Telluride were introduced to the US market. These debuted in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In fact, the 2018 Stinger is a recognized performance sedan that earned awards from both J.D. Power(Engineering Award for Highest Rated all-New Vehicle) and Business Insider(Car of the Year Award).

Then, we saw the release of the 2020 Kia Telluride in 2019. The Kia Telluride won coutless awards and recognitions. Both models continue to gain traction in the US market. Kia has been on the rise for a while, now. perhaps a testament to the meaning behind the Korean car company’s name. It translates to “rising from the East.”

2018 Kia Stinger
2018 Kia Stinger | Kia

Kia reliability

Today, Kia’s cars and crossover SUVs are reliable and backed by a great 10 year warranty. The Korean car company improved as the years went by. For instance, in 2013 Kia Motors America marked its 18th year in a row of increasing market share in the US.

A gray 2021 Kia K5 sedan, the successor to the Kia Optima, is slightly ahead of another in this head-on picture of both cars on the road.
The 2021 Kia K5 | Kia

Since 2015, J.D. Power recognizes the Kia brand as the highest ranked mainstream brand in terms of initial quality. So, it’s pretty safe to say that you probably will find joy in a brand new Kia. Oh, and yes. Hyundai does own Kia. Only, 33% of the stakes, but it’s had shares in the Kia brand since 1997.