3 Reasons why you’re seeing more Hyundai and Kia cars in Ghana

Before we begin this long journey to South Korea,let’s me start off with a brief history  about the Kia and Hyundai brands.

FACT SHEET: The Hyundai Motor Group was formed through the purchase of 51% of South Korea’s second-largest car company, Kia Motors, by Hyundai Motor Company in 1998.As of December 2013, the company is 33.88% owned by the Hyundai Motor Company.

So now you know, Hyundai and Kia cars are essentially siblings and share similar DNA(yeah, I mean parts/car components for those of us that are  uninitiated in the science of Genetics). Moving on to the topic of discussion, i am very sure you are curious to learn the secrets as to why Kia and Hyundai have become ubiquitous on our roads in recent times, so let’s delve in.

1.Americans have fallen in love with Hyundai and Kia cars.

But this current love affair has got some not so pleasant memories in the past as with most relationships.In terms of history, Hyundai Motor America began selling cars in the United States on 20 February 1986, with a single model, the Hyundai Excel, which was offered in a variety of trims and body styles. That year, Hyundai set a record of selling the most automobiles in its first year of business in the United States compared to any other car brand; total sales in 1986 were 168,882.

1024px-'88-'89_Hyundai_Excel_SedanDo you remember the Hyundai Excel?

Initially well received, the Excel’s faults soon became apparent; cost-cutting measures caused reliability to suffer. With an increasingly poor reputation for quality, Hyundai sales plummeted, and many dealerships either earned their profits on repairs or abandoned the product. At one point, Hyundai became the butt of many jokes (i.e. Hyundai stands for “Hope you understand nothing’s driveable and inexpensive“)

In response, Hyundai began investing heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of its vehicles. It added a 10-year or 100,000-mile (160,000 km) powertrain warranty (known as the Hyundai Advantage) to its vehicles sold in the United States. By 2004, sales had dramatically increased, and the reputation of Hyundai cars improved.In general , Americans are savvy buyers and love a good deal as demonstrated by the popularity of the Black Friday shopping ritual on  the last Friday of November of every year since 1932.With a solid 10-year warranty to back their improved quality, Hyundai was able to attract more buyers and the company has grown year-on-year to become a competitor to established Japanese car companies–Toyota  and Honda.The 2 reasons that follow will detail why Americans have fallen in love with the Koreans–and here i mean the South Koreans, not North Koreans.

2. Affordable luxury and good value

When it comes to car manufacturing, the Koreans might have realized that they arrived late to the party, and had to offer something special.Perhaps, it’s because of this awareness  that the Koreans have mastered the art of offering more for less.Features that were often reserved for high-end luxury makers like Lexus and BMW can now be found on many models, and it is not uncommon to run across amenities like genuine Napa leather interior, heated rear seats, automatic high-beam assistance, and ventilated front seats. All of these features come at a fraction of the cost of their Japanese and European competition.To demonstrate its intention to compete with the worlds respected car makers, in 2006 Hyundai hired former BMW designer Thomas Bürkle as head of the company’s design department.In a similar strategic direction, Kia recruited  Peter Schreyer, as chief design officer (CDO) in 2006. Peter Schreyer, a german who had worked as chief designer at   Audi  between 1994 and 2002 is famous for his design of the Audi TT.The German  is commonly known as one of the world’s top 3 automotive designers along with the names like Chris Bangle of BMW, Walter De Silva of Audi.

3.Sharp styling and improved quality

157458_2015_Hyundai_GenesisThe elegant and beautiful 2015 Hyundai Genesis

Once considered a hideous laughingstock of the automotive community, modern Korean cars are actually becoming quite sharp looking. From the use of LED illumination, to redesigned lines and interior cues, all the way to performance aero kits, recent models from both manufacturers are truly a step above previous generations. A dozen years ago no one was interested in a Korean car save for the sticker price on its windshield, nowadays fully-furnished models are  able to attract statements like, “There’s no way that’s a Kia.”

2016-genesis-sedan-interior-3The inviting interior of the 2016 Hyundai Genesis

Long gone are the days when people complained about inferior Korean quality. These cars are made in America, offer fantastic value for the money, and every year land tons of awards for their overall quality. This shift all started back in 2004, when Hyundai shocked everyone when it tied with Honda for initial brand quality in a study by J.D. Power and Associates. It then placed third overall in J.D. Power’s 2006 Initial Quality Survey, trailing only Porsche and Lexus. Meanwhile Kia has been busy cleaning-up as well, winning awards recently for its safety, design, and ingenuity.

So there you have it, the reality of seeing more Hyundai and Kia vehicles on the  roads in Ghana is not by chance.It is primarily due to the reasons stated above and the fact that a greater percentage of the used saloon and SUV vehicles in Ghana are imported from the salvage auctions in the United States.






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