Top 7 South Korean Car Brands (With Photos)

South Korea has some of the leading auto brands dominating global markets. Popular names like Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis are from South Korea, and there are even more you’d like to know. South Korean car brands are notable for utilizing bleeding-edge technologies when building their automobiles.

There are actually not many automobile manufacturers in South Korea; in fact, the three active car brands in South Korea are owned by the same company.

The rest of this list comprises foreign companies that are manufacturing some specific models of their car series in the country.

Let’s quickly learn more about the various South Korean auto brands!

Top South Korean Car Brands

1. Hyundai

  • Founding Date: 1967
  • Founder: Chung Ju-yung
  • Chairperson: Eon Tae Ha
  • Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

Hyundai Motor Company, simply Hyundai was founded in 1967 as an automobile manufacturer that produces a wide variety of vehicles for different classes.

Hyundai is South Korea’s most prominent and largest automotive company; it is equally the oldest – still active – car brand in the country. The company is headquartered in Seoul and owns Kia and Genesis.

Interestingly, Hyundai vehicles are ranked among the most reliable cars you can buy in these modern times. The company produces classical, attractive sedans, SUVs, crossovers, and hatchbacks. Hyundai vehicles are sold all over the world, and they are remarkable for offering optimal performance on and off roads.

2. Kia

  • Founding Date: 1944
  • Founder:
  • Chairperson: Song Ho-Sung
  • Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

You’ve got to love Kia cars – they are not only beautiful but also classical and plushy on the inside. Kia Corporation, called Kia, is a South Korean multinational automobile manufacturer founded in 1944 – but it wasn’t producing vehicles at that time.

Kia started making vehicles in 1974. It is currently the second-largest automobile manufacturer in South Korea

The brand is famous for its sleek SUVs and sedans packed with impressive technologies. In recent rankings, JD Power listed Kia as the most reliable car brand in the US.

Kia was also the first non-luxury automaker since 1989 to rank number one in overall reliability ratings. Kia is minority-owned by Hyundai Motor Company, which holds a 33.88% stake in the business.

3. Genesis

  • Founding Date: 4 November 2015
  • Founder: Hyundai
  • Chairperson: Won-Hee Lee
  • Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

Genesis is South Korea’s luxury car brand. It is the only luxury car manufacturer in the country. The company was founded in 2015 by Hyundai to build luxury SUVs and sedans – and truly, Genesis vehicles are top class – real luxury standards.

The brand also ranks on the top list of most reliable car brands, which implies that Genesis car models are reliable.

Genesis vehicles are sold in the Americas and Europe. They are built differently and define the real meaning of “Luxury.” In 2020, JD Power named Genesis the most dependable car brand. Also, in 2021, Genesis was the most technologically innovative auto brand in North America – ranked by JD Power.

4. Renault Korea Motors

  • Founding Date: 1994
  • Founder: Samsung Motors
  • Chairperson: Stéphane Deblaise
  • Headquarters: Busan, South Korea

Renault Korea Motors is a South Korean automobile manufacturer based in Busan. The company was first established as Samsung Motors in 1994, and due to crisis, it was acquired by Renault in 2000 to become a subsidiary of the French company.

The name was changed to Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) after the acquisition and further changed to Renault Korea Motors in 2022.

Renault Korea Motors currently makes and sells a wide range of automobile models, including EVs and crossovers. Existing top car models from the brand include the SM6 (a large 4-door SUV), the QM6 (a solidly-built crossover), and the XM3 (another impressive crossover).

5. GM Korea

Photo by Chu via Wikimedia
  • Founding Date: 2002
  • Founder: Daewoo Motors
  • Chairperson: Roberto Rempel
  • Headquarters: Bupyeong, Incheon, South Korea

GM Korea Company is a division of America’s Genera Motor Company. Initially, the company was named Daewoo Motors, owned by the Daewoo Group, and has three manufacturing facilities in South Korea.

Currently, GMK is the third-largest automobile manufacturer in South Korea; it built over 1.9 million vehicles in 2019.

6. Ioniq

  • Founding Date: 2020
  • Founder: Hyundai Motor Company
  • Chairperson:
  • Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

IONIQ is a division of Hyundai Motor Company headquartered in Seoul. It is an automobile marque established in 2020 to produce electric vehicles for the Hyundai Motor Company.

The IONIQ sub-brand of Hyundai has produced quite a few models comprising a small battery-electric sporty hatchback and a compact liftback. Hyundai targets to produce varieties of EVs under the IONIQ brand to compete with Toyota’s hybrid models and Nissan’s battery-electric models.

7. SsangYong Motor

  • Founding Date: 4 March 1954
  • Founder:
  • Chairperson: Kwak Jae-sun
  • Headquarters: Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do

SsangYong Motor Company is an automobile manufacturer based in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do. The company was first established in 1954 and still functions to this day. SsangYong Motor Company has been owned by Daewoo Motors, SAIC Motor, and Mahindra & Mahindra; however, the current owner is the KG Group.

SsangYong Motor focuses on producing sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers, and like other automobile companies, it is preparing to start production of electric vehicles.

Current SUV and crossover models from the brand include Rexton, Tivoli, XLV, Torres, and Korando. The vehicles are typically classy and sophisticated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Car Brand Is Famous In South Korea?

All native South Korean automobile brands are popular – there are three of them: Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. The SsangYong Motor brand is only popular in the country and produces some cool SUVs and crossovers.

What Is The Most Famous Car In Korea?

Hyundai models. Porter II and Grandeur are the two top-selling car models in South Korea in terms of sales volume. The Kia Bongo is relatively popular too – the sales volume has kept increasing annually.

How Many Car Companies Are in Korea?

There are two car companies in South Korea and about five native brands. The companies are Hyundai Motor Company and SsangYong Motor, while the brands include Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, IONIQ, and SsangYong.


These are the only two automobile manufacturers based in South Korea, unlike Japan and South Korea. But Korean car brands typically outperform models from other competing Asian brands.

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