Korean Autos at the Spotlight

More and more Indiana citizens prefer to buy Korean cars. The consumer interest is also high in  many other states, so the sales of Korean autos in the US are growing every year. Today, even the Japanese automobile giant Toyota sees Korean automakers as its main competitors. Find out the reason for such popularity of Korean vehicles with Indy Auto Man. 

Which Car Brands Popular in the US Are from Korea?

South Korea became an automobile producer much later than many other countries. This is why the USA consumers know well only 3 Korean car brands: 

  • Hyundai, 
  • Kia, 
  • Daewoo.

With the help of the Americans, in 1955, immediately after the Korean War, several car plants appeared in Seoul, assembling obsolete American cars from foreign components. After 20 years, these enterprises began to supply products for export, which made it possible to upgrade equipment and begin to develop their own models. Korean automobile enterprises were already established brands by the mid-80s, with a whole line of models and a great demand for their products in the domestic market.

The most famous Korean automobile brand is Hyundai concern, which produces, in addition to cars, many other products, including ships, household appliances, electronics, industrial robots, and other equipment. Thanks to the cooperation with Mitsubishi, many Hyundai vehicles are based on the units of this well-known Japanese manufacturer.

The second most popular car brand from Korea is Kia, part of the Hyundai concern. Structurally, almost all Kia models have much in common with Hyundai models.

Daewoo is the third largest car manufacturer in Korea. Until 1998, it was the largest concern, producing many types of goods and standing on par with Hyundai, but in 1999 it was liquidated by the Korean government due to huge debts. The American multinational giant GM bought out the Daewoo automotive division, and today many Daewoo-designed models are sold worldwide under the Chevrolet brand.

Are Korean Cars Reliable?

reliable korean cars for sale Indianapolis

The authoritative agency J. D. Power has published another reliability rating based on a survey of three-year-old car owners. The Koreans are the best again.

This did not become a sensation since Korean brands have been occupying the top lines of the ranking for several years: for example, a year ago, Kia took third place, Hyundai – seventh, and Genesis – eighth. In 2022, the situation is even better, first, third and fourth places. But the absolute results may surprise: if there were an average of 97 complaints per hundred Kia cars last year, in 2022, this figure has risen to 145. The market average is 192 instead of last year’s 121, and the reason is simple: for the first time, the survey took into account complaints about the operation of electronic driver assistance systems. However, the leaders in terms of the number of problems are still multimedia systems, and this largely explains the lag behind cars of premium brands with more complex electronic filling.

The Most Reliable Korean Cars: TOP-5

Despite the abundance of variations in designs and configurations of Korean cars, an experienced driver, when choosing a vehicle, primarily pays attention to its reliability. Among the wide range of the Korean auto industry, we have identified the top five Korean cars.

  • Kia Sportage. US consumers recognize Sportage as the most reliable Korean car. The car shows the best performance in crash tests. The SUV is best for driving on rough terrain and off-road, although many people buy it as a family car. The long-term operation has shown an extremely long working life without breakdowns, subject to timely maintenance.
  • Hyundai Genesis. The Genesis can be safely called the best car in the business class segment. The premium sedan has a powerful, durable engine demanding high-octane fuel. A solid assembly guarantees the declared working life of the power units of the car.
  • Hyundai Sonata. The main advantage of the Sonata is its stable suspension providing a smooth ride. The body is treated with an anti-corrosion compound and has excellent paintwork. The motor is picky about the quality of fuel, designed for a mileage of over 300 thousand miles.
  • Hyundai Tucson. The generation of the Tucson SUVs after 2015 is of increased quality. The changes affected the stylish exterior and the interior: the new upholstery is less sensitive to abrasion and damage. The clutch exhibits excellent performance under normal conditions but wears out quickly under extreme driving styles.
  • Kia Telluride. The Telluride is Kia’s largest SUV with three rows of seats, designed by the South Korean brand specifically for the US market. It boasts a quiet and upscale cabin, state-of-the-art technology, a wide range of standard features, comfortable third-row seats, and an enjoyable driving experience. The 2022 Kia Telluride did an excellent job in the NHTSA review and received 5 out of 5 rating.

Are Korean Cars Better than Japanese Cars?

The Koreans adopted the experience of their nearest neighbor, Japan, which 20 years earlier had already gone from unknown Asian manufacturers to engineering giants selling their cars in millions of copies on all continents, including America. 

The first strategic step in the intensive struggle for the US buyers’ wallets for Korean companies was to change the product quality control system and seriously increase the reliability of their cars. You could hear some negative comments about Korean cars of the 90s, but products of the Hyundai and Kia automakers since the 2000s are often recommended as a good choice

Are Korean Vehicles Cheaper?

The Koreans chose the right marketing policy as the next strategic step. Just like the Japanese did in their time, they made the prices for spare parts and the cost of maintenance a little lower than for cars from other manufacturers, including Japanese ones. This approach showed results very quickly – buyers from the US, who are good at counting money, began to take a serious interest in Korean autos. The situation has changed somewhat, and today the prices for the maintenance of some Korean models have grown to the level of Japanese ones.

Are Korean Autos Better than German?

The third step for the Hyundai and Kia concerns, when Korean brands became well-known in many countries, was a serious redesign of their models. The manufacturers opened several design departments in the US and Europe, where world-famous automotive designers were invited, including the former chief designer of Audi, Peter Schreyer. Today, Koreans autos often receive prizes for design, and the appearance of some Korean cars can surprise even avid fans of models from the German Big Three.

What Are the Disadvantages of Korean Cars?

Hyundai and Kia have long been considered goods for middle-class buyers. The non-prestigiousness of Korean vehicles may be considered the main disadvantage compared to the Japanese, not to mention European car brands.

However, since the mid-2000s, the perceptions of Korean cars began to change. And now, Korean automobile companies are producing cars that are in no way inferior to the products of recognized world leaders.

Another disadvantage of Korean vehicles that many owners note is some underdevelopment compared to the competitors: 

  • quality of the interior materials;
  • subjective complaints about the operation of electronic security systems, such as ESP;
  • the quality of the car body painting (though this is a problem for many automakers). 

Some consider such claims as consumer shortcomings of the vehicle, while others attribute them to subjective perception. Schedule your test drive at Indy Auto Man and get your own experience with Korean cars to buy the best in Indianapolis!