I am reminded of the days when Ford owned 33.4 percent of Mazda, and while Ford was in a position to call at least some of the shots, Mazda happily went its own way when it could. Now, Hyundai Motor Group owns 33.88 percent of Kia Motors, but no more than that, and the same sort of thing is happening:
According to the automaker’s performance development chief, Kia plans to offer a global GT line of its most popular vehicles, boosting the models’ performance and appearance.
“Kia is meant to be more emotional than Hyundai and we have to make cars that reflect that when you drive them,” [Albert] Biermann told Autocar. “Hyundai is the quieter brand, that’s why the N-Division was created, because the brand cannot stretch as far. Kia can stretch much further, and I think we will be able to do more aggressive cars.”
Then again, that N-Division, conceived in 2013, has yet to bear any fruit. And Hyundai is outselling Kia, but not by much: through the end of July, 449,063 Hyundais and 388,296 Kias were sold in the States.
Still, I keep coming back to that “more emotional” description. You wouldn’t have said that of, say, Dodge over Plymouth. And Pontiac, arguably GM’s most emotionally-charged car (no trucks and such) brand — “We Build Excitement,” after all — ultimately could not be saved.