Fresh fuel for Korea’s sibling rivalry

The Kia Telluride concept could preview a large crossover.

If you want to make yourself unpopular at Hyundai and Kia’s corporate headquarters in South Korea, bring up the fact that Kia is outshining big brother Hyundai in the United States. ​

Consider Kia’s two consecutive wins in J.D. Power’s initial quality rankings, the Niro crossover hybrid that’s vastly outselling Hyundai’s entire Ioniq hybrid line and the striking new Stinger sport sedan that’s about to inject some panache into Kia’s image while Hyundai waits for its sportier entries.

Future Product: Hyundai, Genesis and Kia brand timelines

PDF: Hyundai, Genesis and Kia Future Products

Future Product Pipeline

David Undercoffler covers Korean brands. He is based in L.A.

If Hyundai were a sports team, 2017 would be its rebuilding year. Updates were reserved for slow-selling car segments, such as with a Sonata freshening and the introduction of the Ioniqs into a market that has been unfriendly to cars and hybrids.

But Hyundai has big things in the works. Highlights include the new Kona subcompact crossover, a redesigned Santa Fe Sport, a redesigned Veloster that includes Hyundai’s first N performance model for the U.S. and the launch of a purported BMW 3-series fighter, the Genesis G70 luxury sport sedan.

The momentum continues into 2019 and beyond as Hyundai and Genesis use updates and additions to flesh out relatively thin — and poor-performing — product lineups.

On Kia’s horizon are the Stinger launch and probably a new premium crossover dubbed the Telluride, as well as the fruits of a collaboration with Hyundai to introduce greater electrification throughout their lineups, notably in the brands’ new subcompact crossovers.