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How Kia beat Hyundai to become Australia's number one Korean brand in March

Kia is was the number one Korean car brand in Australia in March.

Australia crowned a new Korean car king in March, with Kia overtaking stablemate (and rival) Hyundai for the first time in its 24-year Australian history.

Kia moved some 5654 vehicles, which, in the midst of coronavirus craziness, is quite an achievement, especially given the result marks a 6.6 per cent increase on the same month in 2019, when it recorded 5303.

The result brings Kia's 2020 tally to 15,479, up 4.5 per cent on the 14,810 cars they'd sold to this point in 2019. 

Hyundai, on the other hand, moved 5306 cars in March, which is down some 31 per cent on their results in the same month last year. The year to date tally now stands at 16,694 sales, or 18 per cent off where they were at this time last year. In Hyundai's defence, it's hardly alone there. Most major car companies in Australia have seen their numbers plummet this year, and the market itself is down13.1 per cent year to date.

March marks the first time in 24 long years that Kia has edged ahead of Hyundai in Australia. So what's the secret?

We put that very question to Kia, with the brand here chalking up its success to the security of its seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and consistency in the way it markets its vehicles.

"The seven-year warranty is a big part of it, and the consistency of our pricing," says Kia Australia's spokesperson, Kevin Hepworth.

"We’re not up and down (with pricing). If you come in on a Thursday and price your car, then go home and have a think about it, then come back the following week you'l find the same car for the same price, and there’s a confidence that comes along with that."

Which is all well and good, but Kia has somehow defied the market downturn (which has been contracting every month for the past two years) while those around them have watched their numbers plummet. 

But if you think Kia is going to spill on what they're doing differently, think again. 

"We’re just a humble little Korean car company, and we’re just doing whatever we can do under the circumstances," Mr Hepworth says.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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