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Hyundai and Kia are part of the same organization, Hyundai Motor Group, but as happens in households with siblings, these two automotive brands compete against each other. When we look at the vehicle lineups from both nameplates, we see a long list of similarities. But which brand is actually more profitable?

An interior shot of a Kia car with the Kia emblem displayed on the steering wheel with the beach and ocean in the background
Kia interior | Michael Held via Unsplash

Is Kia really more profitable than Hyundai?

When we look at the Yahoo Finance list of the top 15 most profitable automotive brands from 2022, the two Korean automakers make the cut.


Hyundai occupies the 14th spot on Yahoo’s list with:

Net Profit: $7.36 billion

Revenue: $142.53 billion

Profit to Revenue Ratio: 5.2%

This automotive brand increased overall sales by 1.4% globally, selling more than 3.94 million vehicles while accelerating the transition to electrification. Strong sales of the Ioniq 5 and an impressive launch of the new Ioniq 6 support this movement and expected increased growth.


Kia sits in the 10th position on Yahoo’s list with:

Net Profit: $4.2 billion

Revenue: $67.2 billion

Profit to Revenue Ratio: 6.3%

In 2022, Kia sold 2.9 million vehicles worldwide, which represents a 4.6% increase compared to the previous year. The most popular vehicle in the lineup is the Kia Sportage SUV, which is also one of the longest-running nameplates for this brand. Kia operated an extremely efficient supply chain, which allowed this auto brand to increase profits by 13.5% compared to 2021.

By profit-to-revenue percentages, Kia has a higher profit margin than Hyundai, but the Hyundai brand is simply larger and reported greater overall revenue and net profits than Kia.

How closely related are the Kia and Hyundai model lineups?

Many vehicles in the Kia and Hyundai lineups share platforms, powertrains, and build structures. Differences appear in styling and driving dynamics, enabling a slight separation between these two car brands. Each 2023 model lineup is:

Lineup Match  
EV SUVEV6Ioniq 5
Compact CarForteElantra
Subcompact SUVNiroKona
Subcompact SUVSeltosVenue
Midsize SUVSorentoSanta Fe
Compact SUVSportageTucson
Three-Row SUVTelluridePalisade
Midsize SedanK5Sonata
No Lineup Match  
 RioIoniq 6
 StingerSanta Cruz

Are Kia and Hyundai on the right path?

Although these sibling automotive brands duke it out in many car categories, they also offer different models that separate the two. The Kia Soul is a fun and funky little vehicle that straddles the line between hatchback and SUV, while the Kia Carnival is an impressive and modernized minivan.

Turning to Hyundai, we see a strong push for EVs with the new Ioniq 6 electric sedan. This brand also recently entered the compact pickup truck market with the Santa Cruz, which competes only with the also-new Ford Maverick.

What are the most profitable auto brands?

Kia and Hyundai make the top 15 most profitable car brands based on the profit-to-revenue ratio, but which car brands top each of the three categories? The answer is:

Net Profit: BMW Group $19.3 billion

Revenue: Volkswagen Group $300 billion

Profit to Revenue Ratio: Tesla 15.4%