Ten years ago, Kia’s market share in Australia (2.6 per cent) was less than one-third that of its major shareholder, Hyundai (8.5 per cent).

    Yet the brand has spent the past decade steadily whittling away this gap, to the point where in 2022 Kia actually sits ahead of Hyundai in the sales race.

    To the end of September, Kia Australia has registered 60,200 vehicles, against 58,103 from Hyundai.

    That puts Kia in fourth place on the sales charts and right on the hammer of Mitsubishi in third (60,523 sales), relegating Hyundai into fifth.

    While the respective Korean brands’ product line-ups don’t exactly mirror one another’s, they do compete in several important segments.

    Hyundai has bragging rights in the small car market (17,218 sales of the i30, versus 10,770 for the Cerato), and small SUVs (9453 Konas versus 7039 for the Seltos).

    However Kia has turned the tables in people movers (6096 Carnival sales versus 1351 Starias), light SUVs (7036 Stonic versus 5595 Venues), medium SUVs (13,620 Sportage sales versus 12,839 Tucsons), and large SUVs (4928 Sorentos versus 3302 Santa Fes).

    Both brands are strong in EVs by market-wide standards, sitting a rung below Tesla. But Hyundai’s 2024 EV sales YTD (897 Kona, 558 Ioniq 5, and 569 Ioniq) give it the edge over Kia’s 691 EVs (486 for the EV6 and 205 for the Niro).

    The two brands also have their own areas of strength relative to the other.

    Kia is dominant at the market’s cheapest end with the Picanto (3711) and Rio (3661), and the dwindling large car market with the Stinger (1942 sales).

    On the other hand, Hyundai’s i20 N hot hatch (553 sales) has no direct Kia competitor, nor does the Palisade extra large SUV (3164 sales), Sonata sedan (415), and Staria Load work van (2844 sales). Hyundai’s ‘N’ sports range is also unique, with no Kia alternative.

    * Year to date
    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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