Hyundai-Kia's Surge: The Next Toyota or Just a COVID Bump?

Author: | September 07, 2023

In the unpredictable landscape of the automotive industry, few narratives have been as captivating as the steady rise of Hyundai-Kia. 

Climbing from a market share of 7.7% at the end of 2019 to a remarkable 10.6% in June 2023 YTD, these manufacturers have spearheaded a renaissance that begs a pivotal question: Are Hyundai and Kia on the trajectory to become the next Toyota, or is this surge simply a COVID bump?

Historically, Toyota has played a long game. Their business strategy, characterized by steadfast dealer partnerships and consistent product development, rewarded them with a strong market foothold. At the close of 2019, they boasted a 13.9% market share, slightly tapering to 13.5% in June 2023

Some notable aspects of their strategy have been fostering resilient dealer partnerships and a consistent focus on product innovation and quality — pathways that seem to be paying rich dividends given their sustained market share, even amidst the pandemic.

But as we pivot to Hyundai-Kia, it’s crucial to dissect the ingredients of their recent success and whether it bears the hallmark of a long-term ascent or a transient spike. Let’s delve into the dynamics at play.


The COVID Years: A Time of Record Profits

The COVID pandemic transformed several industries, and the automotive sector was no exception. Hyundai-Kia seized this time as an opportunity for growth, with dealers witnessing record profits, arguably outpacing their Toyota counterparts in profit percentage increase.

The Hyundai-Kia dealers attribute this success to a confluence of new product releases and short supply during the pandemic — clever maneuvering in a period where most were reeling. But does this surge point toward a sustainable growth trajectory or a market anomaly incited by the pandemic?


The Long Game: Dealer Partnership and Product Innovation

To gauge whether Hyundai-Kia is poised to be the successor of Toyota's crown, we must scrutinize their approach to the long game, historically played by Toyota. This game pivots on fostering durable dealer partnerships and relentless product innovation.

Toyota, over the years, has carved out a niche for itself, not just as a manufacturer of reliable vehicles but as a brand that fosters robust dealer partnerships. These relationships have been nurtured through years of collaboration, building a network that is almost symbiotic in nature.

Hyundai-Kia's strategy appears to be on a similar path but at a brisker pace. Their rapid market share expansion seems to be propelled not just by new product offerings but by a concerted effort to forge strong dealership networks, possibly mirroring Toyota's trajectory.


Old Habits Die Hard: The Fear of Reverting

However, looming in the corridors are fears that Hyundai-Kia might revert to old tactics — the infamous market share grab game characterized by stair-step programs and other factory push-through retail strategies. 

This approach, although aggressive, might not be sustainable in the long run, raising legitimate concerns about the viability of Hyundai-Kia's growth trajectory.

Moreover, it begs the question: Is Hyundai-Kia prepared to embrace the meticulous path treaded by Toyota or are they setting themselves up for a precipitous fall by possibly adopting transient, aggressive strategies?


The Current Verdict: A Resounding Vote of Confidence

As the narrative unfolds, a noteworthy trend emerges in the Ozog Consulting Group's clientele. Most dealers still harbor a preference for Toyota dealerships. With few exceptions (mostly framework limitations), nearly every buyer in our buyers bench wants to buy a Toyota dealership. But the tides seem to be shifting. 

An unprecedented number of buyers, including existing Toyota dealers, are expressing keen interest in acquiring Hyundai-Kia dealerships, with several very specific targets.

This shift perhaps underscores a burgeoning confidence in Hyundai-Kia's market potential. It signifies a belief that Hyundai-Kia might indeed be gearing up to play the long game, aligning themselves as worthy contenders to Toyota.


Wrapping Up

While the automotive market remains in a state of flux, the surge in Hyundai-Kia's growth cannot be overlooked. Their recent strategies hint at a potential paradigm shift in the automotive industry, one where Hyundai-Kia might emerge as the frontrunner.

However, the road ahead is fraught with uncertainties. Will Hyundai-Kia adhere to a sustainable growth strategy, akin to Toyota's long game? Or will they succumb to the allure of quick market share grabs? The industry watches with bated breath as Hyundai-Kia navigates these critical junctures.

What is clear, though, is that Hyundai-Kia has managed to carve out a significant place in the market dynamics, challenging pre-existing narratives and possibly ushering in a new era of competition and innovation. 

Whether this is a marker of a sustainable trajectory or just a COVID bump, only time will unveil. But for now, the newfound interest among buyers in Ozog Consulting Group's circle reflects a changing wind, one that carries the possibility of a new beginning in the automotive sector.

For more insights and analysis on the unfolding trends in the automotive industry, reach out to our team of expert brokers.