Kia surprisingly tops Hyundai in market value with affordable EVs rolling out


For the first time since 2001, Kia surpassed Hyundai in market value with new affordable EVs rolling out this year. Kia is now South Korea’s fifth most-valued stock at $31 billion (41.3 trillion won).

Kia surpasses Hyundai in market value

Hyundai, which saved Kia from bankruptcy in 1998, owns around a third of the South Korean automaker.

The Hyundai Motor Group was formed in 2000 after buying out Kia. In 2003, the first Hyundai Genesis arrived, and in 2015, the luxury brand became a standalone marque.

Kia’s stock is surging after announcing fourth-quarter earnings and 2024 guidance on January 25th. The plans include a KRW 500 billion ($376 million) share buyback plan and 3.2 million in sales (wholesale).

The automaker is targeting 3.4% operating profit growth and an operating profit ratio of 11.9% in 2024.

Despite a “difficult business environment” expected this year, Kia plans to keep the momentum up by launching new lower-cost EVs. Kia said it plans to “pursue sustainable growth by strengthening our leadership in the eco-friendly car market.”

Kia EV lineup from left to right: EV6, EV4, EV5, EV3, EV9 (Source: Kia)

Kia is launching price-competitive electric models, including the EV3, EV4, and EV5. The new low-cost EVs were revealed during Kia’s first EV day in October.

Affordable Kia EVs will charge up sales growth

Kia is in a good position to take advantage of the growing demand for affordable EVs, according to YongJin Jung, an analyst at Shinhan Securities.

Jung predicts Kia’s EV sales will grow another 50% this year to 270,000. As many rivals are pulling back EV guidance, 50% growth would make Kia a standout, Jung explained.

Kia EV5 electric SUV (Source: Kia)

Kia’s new “EVs for all” vision includes models priced from $30,000 to $80,000. The new EV3, EV4, and EV5 will be priced between $20,000 and $50,000.

Kia already launched the EV5, a compact electric SUV to rival Tesla’s Model Y, in China last November. Starting prices were even lower than expected at around $21,000 (149,800 yuan).

Kia EV4 concept (Source: Kia)

The EV3 and EV4 concepts were introduced for the first time. The EV3 is an electric crossover based on the flagship EV9 but in a compact package. It features a bold design with Kia’s “Opposites United” theme. The EV3’s interior provides ample space with ergonomic seats and mood lighting.

Meanwhile, the EV4 is an “entirely new type of EV sedan.” It includes a low nose, sleek silhouette, and roof spoiler for a sports car sedan feel.

Kia Ray EV (Source: Kia)

Kia also introduced its cheapest electric car yet, the new Ray EV, last summer in South Korea, starting at $20,000 (27.35 million won).

The new affordable EVs are a big reason why Kia topped Hyundai in market value. Kia sold 111,545 EVs in 2023, while Hyundai sold 158,110, according to data from BloombergNEF.

2024 Kia EV6 (Source: Kia)

In the US, Kia launched a new Light Long Range trim for the 2024 EV6. The new variant starts at $45,950 (excluding dest.) with up to 310 miles range. Kia’s base EV6 starts at $42,600 with up to 232 miles range.

Electrek’s Take

While many rivals, including Ford, GM, VW, and Toyota, are pulling back on EV initiatives, Kia (and Hyundai) are surging ahead.

Kia believes its new affordable EVs will help accelerate sales, and investors are clearly on board. Hyundai, including Kia, has already overtaken Ford and GM to become the second-largest EV maker in the US behind Tesla.

The automaker just completed an eight-month transformation at its manufacturing plant in South Korea, its first plant upgrade dedicated to EVs.

Kia will produce new electric models, including the EV3 and EV4, at the facility. Once complete, the plant will be able to build 150,000 EVs annually.

The new electric models will play a key role as Kia aims to sell one million EVs by 2026. By 2030, Kia looks to sell 1.6 million EVs with a full electric lineup.

Source: Bloomberg

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