South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia hit their highest export performance ever. The surge in exports was driven by Hyundai’s competitive EVs and expanding global sales.

Hyundai and Kia were recognized for their performance at the 60th Trade Day ceremony in South Korea on Tuesday.

After a record-setting year, both companies won the “Top of Export” award. Hyundai ranked first, with exports reaching $31 billion (+29.6% YOY), while Kia came in second with $23.5 billion (+30.7%).

The growth comes amid rising interest rates, supply chain shortages, and deepening protectionism. Hyundai attributes the increase to launching competitive electric vehicles, improving its sales mix, and expanding globally.

New EV models based on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform are leading to an improved sales mix. Hyundai and Kia’s dedicated EVs, including the IONIQ 5, IONIQ 6, and Kia EV6, were big factors in achieving record exports.

The company says its new EVs are “playing a major role in helping Hyundai Motor Company and Kia secure leadership in the global electric vehicle market.”

2023 Hyundai IONIQ 5 (Source: Hyundai)

Hyundai and Kia EVs lead to record exports

EV exports nearly doubled between the two companies, from 119,569 in 2020 to 218,241 in 2022.

In the US, Hyundai and Kia had their best November sales months ever. Both companies have achieved 16 straight months of year-over-year (YOY) growth in the states.

Strong demand for Hyundai and Kia EVs propelled the brands to second place in US electric vehicle sales behind only Tesla in Q3. According to registration data, Hyundai and Kia accounted for 7.5% of US EV sales in the third quarter, surpassing GM’s Chevy (5.9%) and Ford (5.5%).

2024 Kia EV6 (Source: Kia)

This comes despite not qualifying for the $7,500 EV tax credit (only through leasing). Hyundai’s Global President, Jose Munoz, told Reuters last month he is “still very bullish” on EVs, pointing to sales doubling YOY.

“Based on what I see, I need more. If I had more capacity today, I could sell more cars,” Munoz explained.

Increasing EV production to meet demand

Hyundai and Kia are actively expanding EV production to respond to rising global demand for EVs. As such, the company expects EV exports to continue to break records in the future.

Hyundai broke ground on its massive dedicated EV factory in Ulsan last month. Once up and running, the plant will be able to build 200,000 EVs a year.

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Limited (Source: Hyundai)

After starting construction on its first US EV and battery plant in the US last October, Hyundai said 99.9% of the foundation work is now complete. The $5.5 billion mega facility will enable Hyundai EVs to qualify for the EV tax credit, which will help boost momentum further.

The automaker also opened a new dedicated plant for custom EVs. The seven-story smart facility can produce 30,000 EVs a year.

Electrek’s Take

Despite recent media headlines claiming the EV market is slowing, brands like Hyundai and Kia are doubling down, and the results are showing.

Hyundai and Kia are setting records with unique all-electric vehicles. The IONIQ 5 and EV6 continue to rack up awards while gaining popularity.

The brand expects its next wave of EVs to keep the momentum going. Kia’s first three-row electric SUV, the EV9, is rolling out globally. The new electric SUV already has reservations in all 50 US states.

Kia revealed several new affordable EVs, including the EV5, EV4, and EV3, at its annual EV day. The new electric models will help expand the brand as the industry shifts to electric.

Meanwhile, Hyundai is expected to reveal its first three-row electric SUV, the IONIQ 7, next year.

Source: Hyundai

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