In a rather interesting exchange, representatives from both Hyundai and Kia suggested that they view one another more as competitors than sisters.

While Hyundai and Kia are indeed sister companies (known as Hyundai Kia Automotive Group), executives from both automakers recently shared some rather interesting insight into how the two companies view one another, especially in America.

"Kia Motors America operates as a completely separate sales, marketing and distribution organization in the United States," explained Michael Sprague, the vice president for marketing and communications, to the New York Times. Sprague then added that the two automakers simply share engineering efficiencies, "similar in many ways to other global automakers."

Given the countless shared platforms between the two companies the comments may seem a bit out of place, but it seems folks at Hyundai view the relationship is a somewhat similar manner. Jim Trainor, of Hyundai Motor America said they [Hyundai] view Kia "just like any other competitor in the automotive space."

While that might in a sense make sense, as both Hyundai and Kia are in fact pursuing the same consumers in many instances, it is also a somewhat unique approach to viewing a sister company in the automotive industry. For example, one will not likely find executives at General Motors' Chevrolet and GMC divisions sharing similar sentiments, despite their obvious overlap in the market.

While Hyundai and Kia have separate marketing, distribution and design departments, they share a common research and development center in Hwaesong, South Korea, known as Namyang. It is at that 8,000-worker center that engineers from both Hyundai and Kia work side-by-side without distinction to develop new vehicles.

Of course, there are necessary overlaps and redundancies given the economies of scale benefits sought from joint-platform production development. This becomes apparent when product planners from otherwise separate Hyundia and Kia divisions must come together at the joint Hyundai-Kia product planning department before final product decisions are made.

Kia become part of the Hyundai conglomerate in 1998 when then-bankrupt Kia was purchased by Hyundai, forming the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.


1.'Korean automakers...' view