Kia stormed onto the podium in Australia’s May new-vehicle sales race, eclipsing its Hyundai minority owner as well as Ford and Mitsubishi.

Korea’s clear number two reported 7124 monthly sales in May’s VFACTS industry data, up 158.1 per cent over its COVID-interrupted May 2020 tally.

This put it behind only Toyota (21,156) and Mazda (10,554), and ahead of Ford (6493), Mitsubishi (6478), and Hyundai (6450).

Kia’s May haul also put it into fifth on the charts year-to-date (YTD) with 30,004 sales, between Hyundai in fourth (31,277) and Ford in sixth (29,427).

It’s not the first month Kia has outsold Hyundai – it happened twice in the first half of 2020 – but it’s rare. Indeed, Hyundai was all over its little sibling for the first 23 years of its operations until a few bumper months in 2020.

To give some extra insight into how far Hyundai has come, here are some comparative numbers.

In 2021 Kia’s tally is 96 per cent the size of Hyundai’s YTD, with figures of 30,004 versus 31,277. Just five years ago Kia’s annual tally was just 42 per what Hyundai’s was, and 10 years ago it was just 29 per cent as big by volume.

In passenger car sales Kia dominated Hyundai, with 3877 units sold in May versus 2210 for Hyundai. In the SUV space the tables turned with Hyundai’s 3861 eclipsing Kia’s 3247. Hyundai also sold 379 iLoad vans whereas Kia offers no commercials.

Comparing May sales for Hyundai and Kia’s like-for-like models looks like this:

Micro Car:

  • Kia Picanto – 609
  • Hyundai – no entrant

Light Car:

  • Kia Rio – 503
  • Hyundai – no entrant

Small Car:

  • Hyundai i30 – 2127
  • Kia Cerato – 2052
  • Hyundai Ioniq – 54

Large Car:

  • Kia Stinger – 163
  • Hyundai – no entrant

People Mover:

  • Kia Carnival – 550
  • Hyundai iMax – 29

Light SUV:

  • Kia Stonic – 986
  • Hyundai Venue – 566

Small SUV:

  • Hyundai Kona – 1400
  • Kia Seltos – 1118
  • Kia Niro – 36

Medium SUV:

  • Hyundai Tucson – 1152
  • Kia Sportage – 565

Large SUV:

  • Kia Sorento – 542
  • Hyundai Santa Fe – 387
  • Hyundai Palisade – 356


  • Hyundai iLoad – 379
  • Kia – no entrant
Month in 2021HyundaiKia
BrandMay 2021 salesGain/loss
Isuzu Ute3946174.2%

Previous monthly reports

Got any questions about car sales? Ask away in the comments and I’ll jump in!

Mike Costello
Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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