Hyundai and Kia are gaining a competitive edge ahead of the affordable EV offensive

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Hyundai and Kia are gaining a competitive edge ahead of the affordable EV offensive


After a record 2023, Hyundai and Kia are not slowing down this year. With new tariffs on Chinese EVs, Hyundai and Kia look to gain an edge over their overseas rivals. The tailwind comes as the South Korean automakers are launching affordable EVs in key global markets, including the US.

Hyundai Motor, including Kia, generated a record over $9 billion (KRW 12.27 trillion) in profits last year.

Strong demand in the US, Europe, and India fueled the growth. In the US, Hyundai shattered its sales record for the third year in a row. According to Goldman Sachs (via Wall Street Journal), Hyundai sold over 800,000 vehicles, accounting for over 10% of the US market.

Much of the growth is thanks to rising demand for Hyundai’s electric models. Hyundai sold nearly 34,000 IONIQ 5 models last year in the US, up 48% YOY. The IONIQ 5 was the sixth best-selling EV in the US last year, topping the Rivian R1S and Ford F-150 Lightning.

Hyundai already sold nearly 15,000 IONIQ 5 models (+43% YOY) through the first five months of 2024 after setting a new monthly sales record in May.

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2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 (Source: Hyundai)

Despite rivals like Ford and GM pulling back on EV plans, Hyundai and Kia remain focused on closing the gap with Tesla.

“For now, electric vehicles are the top priority,” Hyundai Motor Group CEO Chang Jae-hoon said earlier this month.

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Hyundai IONIQ 5 (left) and IONIQ 6 (right) at Tesla Supercharger (Source: Hyundai)

Gaining ground in the US

The comments came as Hyundai is finishing up construction on its first EV and battery plant in the US. The $7.6 billion Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) in Georgia is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.

Randy Parker, Hyundai’s North American boss, has a similar view. Parker told Electrek in a recent interview that Hyundai is “humble and hungry” to distance itself from the EV pack (you can read the full interview here).

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(Source: Boston Consulting Group)

Hyundai and Kia already have some of the most affordable and fuel-efficient EVs on the market, including the IONIQ 5, IONIQ 6, and Kia EV6.

According to the US Department of Energy, Hyundai has six of the top ten most fuel-efficient EVs in the US this year.

Parker said Hyundai is giving buyers the confidence to go electric with long-range, fast-charging EVs at an affordable price.

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2024 Kia EV6 GT (Source: Kia)

Once its Georgia EV plant opens, Hyundai expects the momentum to increase. Hyundai electric cars produced at the facility are expected to qualify for the $7,500 EV tax credit, which will fuel momentum in 2025.

Hyundai’s new 2025 IONIQ 5 will be the first vehicle to roll off the assembly line as the automaker looks to a new era.

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2024 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Limited (Source: Hyundai)

Hyundai and Kia are launching affordable, efficient EVs

Although Hyundai and Kia already have some of the most affordable EVs available, lower-priced models are coming.

Kia opened orders for its EV3 in Korea earlier this month, starting at $30,700 (KRW 42.08 million). The EV3 is the first of Kia’s new low-cost electric car line-up priced from $30,000 to $50,000.

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Kia EV3 GT-Line (Source: Kia)

The EV3 is expected to launch in the US with starting prices around $30,000 to $35,000, which would make it among the cheapest EV options (based on Q1 average selling price) next to the Nissan LEAF ($27,956), Nissan Ariya ($35,556), and Hyundai IONIQ 6 ($36,506).

Kia is launching the EV4 next year, its take on an entry-level electric sedan (see the EV4 spotted out in public). The EV4 is expected to start at around $35,000.

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

Meanwhile, Hyundai is teasing a new low-cost EV, the Casper Electric, ahead of its debut later this week.

The Casper Electric is based on the gas-powered Casper, sold in Korea. In Europe, the Casper will be called the Inster EV. It will have up to 315 km (196 miles) range in Korea and 355 km (221 miles) WLTP range.

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Hyundai INSTER EV (Casper Electric) teaser image (Source: Hyundai Motor)

Hynudai’s new electric car is expected to start under $27,000 (25,000 euro) in Europe. However, Hyundai has not announced whether the new EV will launch in the US.

With new tariffs on Chinese EVs in the US and Europe, Hyundai and Kia will likely gain momentum into 2025.

While it waits for its GA plant to open, Hyundai introduced a new $7,500 incentive for EV buyers this month. All 2024 Hyundai EVs are eligible for an up to $7,500 featured cash offer.

If you’re in the market for a new EV, now may be the perfect time to start shopping with some of the lowest prices available so far. You can use our links below to view deals on Hyundai and Kia EV models at a dealer near you.

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