Korean Car Brands

Korean Car Brands

The automotive industry is one of the largest industries in South Korea. It is also among the foremost in the Asian region. Recently, about 4.5 million vehicles have been produced in the DPRK annually, of which almost 2 million are exported abroad. As a result, its contribution to the global automotive industry is over 5 percent, and it ranks 5-6 in the world and 3-4 in Asia. Consequently, South Korean cars are in great demand.

What is Korean Car Brands?

The main car companies in South Korea are Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea Company, SsangYong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors. But beyond the giants of the market, there are other South Korean brands such as luxury sedan maker Genesis, sports car segment Spirra, and Alpheon, which makes economy-class sedans.

The auto industry began in the 1960s, simultaneously adopting the first five-year plan – a special economic development plan for five years. Since then, automotive construction has taken a powerful leap forward and has become a key industry in the country, providing large production volumes. Moreover, in South Korea, five basic companies manufacture cars. The list includes Renault Samsung Motors, SsangYong Motor, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, Kia Motors, Hyundai Motor. They have many industrial sites outside the DPRK.

Luxury Car Brands

The category of luxury cars is represented by the equipment of the Hyundai Motor Group. These are relatively young brands founded in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Large dimensions and representative appearance characterize Their products.


Genesis Logo

This carmaker came about as a result of the separation of its line from the parent company. Previously, he was part of the Hyundai Motor Group and represented the Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan series released in 2004. Almost ten years later, the owner announced its separation from the main manufacturer and an independent brand. There were several reasons for this.

First, Genesis hit the top 3 in sales. Second, it has been the most demanded in the segment of luxury passenger cars for seven years. Third, the customers wanted to see it as an independent trademark. So in 2015, South Korea has its premium brand with an autonomous Genesis model. In 2020, JD Power said it was the most reliable car in all of North America.

Renault Samsung

Renault Samsung Logo

Having appeared in 1994, the company immediately took a leading position because it was the only representative in its class. It is located in Busan, where it manufactures entry-level luxury cars. Its head office is also located there. And production facilities are divided between three cities: some of them are concentrated in Busan, a few more in Seoul, and a third in Giheung.

The company got its unusual name thanks to its owners: now, more than 80 percent of the shares are owned by Renault and about 20 percent by Samsung. It is also called RSM. At the start of its career, the brand was Samsung Motors. She started selling cars in 1998 before the great crisis hit the Asian region. The company took its current name in 2000, after buying a controlling stake in Renault. Currently, RSM has mastered the production of luxury passenger cars, crossovers, and electric vehicles.

Mass Market Brands

The mass-market segment is represented by several well-known brands that are in demand all over the world, not just in Asia. These are Hyundai, Kia, and SsangYong – longtime representatives of the automotive industry that emerged in the middle of the last century. They have accumulated vast experience in the production of passenger cars and covered a large consumer sector, in some cases pushing out European and American models.


Hyundai Logo

The company has been on the market since 1967 and is known as the Hyundai Motor Company. Together with its two subsidiaries (Genesis Motor and Ioniq), it forms the Hyundai Motor Group Corporation. Also, the firm owns almost 40 percent of the Kia Corporation and sells its vehicles in 193 countries worldwide. She also owns 5,000 showrooms and dealerships.

Its main production facilities are located in Ulsan, where the world’s largest integrated transport equipment manufacturing plant is located. Its annual capacity reaches 1.6 million vehicles.


Kia Logo

The previous name of this automotive giant is Kia Motors Corporation; the current name is Kia Corporation. It is an international structure headquartered in Seoul and occupies the second line in the list of specialized firms, behind Hyundai Motor Company’s parent company. Its sales volume reaches about 3 million units of equipment per year. Moreover, Kia owns over 20 Hyundai subsidiaries.

The company was founded in 1944 when it was called Kyungsung Precision Industry and was engaged in the manufacture of steel pipes and spare parts for bicycles. In 1951, she launched the Samchully bike, the very first in Korea. A year later, the company rebranded and changed its name, becoming Kia Industries and producing motorcycles under Honda’s license. Then trucks and cars appeared in its assortment.


SsangYong Logo

Today, this car manufacturer is in the top 4 in South Korea and is ranked fourth in the domestic auto industry. But this was not always the case since the company filed a lawsuit in connection with bankruptcy. It was bought by the international corporation Mahindra & Mahindra Limited from India, which owns it. The parent company owns almost 75 percent of the shares. SsangYong was founded in 1954, relaunched in 2011. The headquarters of the automaker is located in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.

Other Brands

The group of other automotive companies in South Korea includes two well-known firms. The first is Spirra, which represents the domestic segment of sports cars, and the second is Daewoo, which manufactures economy class cars. They are also among the leading manufacturers of road transport equipment, although they are not included in the top five South Korean leaders. They also export products to foreign markets. Also, this group includes Alpheon and Asia Motors.


Spirra Logo

This brand belongs to Oullim Motors Inc., which founded it in 2007, presenting the first sports car of the same name. It is a subsidiary of Oullim Networks with headquarters in Seoul and manufacturing sites in the nearby Gyeonggi-do province. The firm was co-founded by Han-Chul Kim, former designer of SsangYong, Dong-hyuk Park, creator, and CEO of Oullim Networks. The line was launched in mass production in 2008 and is supplied to the markets of various foreign countries, including the Netherlands, Malaysia, OJSC, and China.


Daewoo Logo

The defunct company Daewoo was founded in 1982 and was engaged in the production of economy class cars. Its headquarters were located in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon province. In 2001, it went bankrupt and became part of the American automobile corporation General Motors, which acquired most of its assets. In 2011, the South Korean manufacturer was relaunched under the name GM Korea.


Alpheon Logo

The automaker is owned by GM Korea Company (formerly Daewoo), a subsidiary of automotive giant General Motors. It entered the market in 1983 and produced several million road cars every year, shipping them to many countries worldwide. The firm mainly focuses on the segment of economy-class sedans with designs for American passenger cars from 2010-2015.

Asia Motors

Asia Motors Logo

The subsidiary company KIA Motors was founded in 1965 and, for the first time, was engaged in the production of military equipment. A few years later, she retrained and switched to heavy vehicles, SUVs, and mini-buses. In 1969, Asia Motors was bought by Dongkuk Steel, which retooled the plant to produce inexpensive export vehicles.

Pyeonghwa Motors

Pyeonghwa Motors Logo

Although the automotive industry in North Korea is much less developed than in South Korea, there are also large companies there. Some of them are even represented on the international market – for example, Pyeonghwa Motors. The name of this manufacturer in translation from Korean means “peace.” It is it that is written in hieroglyphs at the top of the shield, which is the basis of the logo. Below the text are two doves connected by their tails. This is the personification of the word “Pyeonghwa” because the white dove is a well-known symbol of peace. The shield has a triangular shape and resembles a clam shell in outline. It is divided into several color blocks: the blue center is placed in a wide black frame, and it is outlined around the edge with a light outline.

Proto Motors

Proto Motors Logo

Proto Motors, a South Korean company, made several models of sports cars until it shut down in 2017. After 20 years of operation, it is remembered for its “PROTOmotors” logo, where the first “O” was replaced by a ring of two arcuate lines: emerald and purple. The letters closest to it (“P,” “R,” “T,” “O”) were black and capital. At the same time, the designers used gray lowercase glyphs for the second half of the brand name. But all the letters, regardless of their case, matched in size.


Ioniq Logo

Ioniq is a series of hybrid and electric vehicles owned by the South Korean concern Hyundai. It has its logo: a wordmark in light blue. The inscription is made in the original bold font without serifs. All letters except “Q” are similar to Canada Type’s Semplicita Pro Bold. As for the last glyph, it is custom designed and looks like a ring that has been cut into a square segment in the lower right corner and then pushed outward.



The HTWO brand debuted in 2020. It represents the latest fuel cell system that Hyundai has invented for its clean energy transition. This development combines modern hydrogen technologies so that the name HTWO is encrypted with a hydrogen molecule – H2.

The trademark emblem is not trivial: it contains a “+” sign placed between two vertical stripes. All elements are light blue. The selected shade contrasts with the black color of the inscription, which is located just below. For the word “HTWO,” the designers used the simplest sans-serif possible. It has many analogs, such as Biryani Bold from TypeOff, Kursk 205 Light from Talbot Type, and Touche Medium from Indian Type Foundry.

Zyle Daewoo Bus Corporation

Zyle Daewoo Bus Corporation Logo

The current name of this South Korean company is Zyle Daewoo Bus. It was opened in 1955 and is now owned by the Young-An Hat Company. Its logo features a complex geometric figure that resembles an oval-shaped steering wheel. Below is the modern name in a strict design.

What is the best Korean car brand?

The best-selling car brands in South Korea are six. Most of the market was shared between Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors. They are followed in descending order by Genesis, Renault, Samsung Motors, SsangYong Motor, GM Korea (Chevrolet).

What car brands does South Korea make?

The South Korean auto industry is highly developed. Major manufacturers include Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea Company, SsangYong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors.

Which cars are built in Korea?

In South Korea, cars of different price segments are manufactured – from mass market to luxury cars.

What is the famous car in Korea?

As of 2021, Hyundai Porter is in the lead among all South Korean cars. The Hyundai Grandeur occupies second place in sales, and the third is by the Kia Carnival. The fact is that their manufacturers control the overwhelming part of the market: Hyundai and Kia models took all the lines from the top 10 best-selling cars in South Korea, giving way only to the Genesis G80.