I’ve been driving A LOT these days for my new job—which means I get several hours a day on the road watching cars go by, getting stuck in traffic jams, and finding time to dissect automotive design and styling trends. It’s a great way to pass the time in a traffic jams! I find myself comparing competing brands side by side as they are stuck in traffic.
What has struck me lately is how 2 brands which are owned by the same parent company have such different philosophies and ideas about how to infiltrate the modern markets of the world. Kia has hired Peter Schreyer for their design team, which is a huge accomplishment. Hyundai has Phil Zak, who used to be at GM.
Hyundais are overstyled, overdone, and just frankly ugly from most angles. I’m not quite sure how Hyundai has captured more market gains in the US market—-considering they are (in general) more expensive, uglier, and have worse interiors than Kias do. “Hyundai” is also one of the worst names in the auto business, sort of reminding me of how in electronics there is a company called Sanyo which sort of vaguely sounds like Sony. Hyundai to Honda. “Kia” on the other hand, doesn’t evoke such weird connections, however through years of budget brand image—has its own share of problems.
But either way, both brands are winning new customers by the day in the US market. What is shocking to me is how if you didn’t tell me prices, market share, etc….and just showed me the pictures—–i would 1000% think that Kia is the brand that is succeeding much more. Such is not the case, however.
IEDEI TIP: don’t buy a Hyundai. they hurt my eyes when i’m stuck in traffic.
Comparisons of designs which are on the same Hyundai/Kia platform:
Kia Forte Koup:
Kia Forte Sedan:
Kia Optima interior:
Hyundai Sonata interior: