Do Korean car brands hold their value?

    Offering quality vehicles at competitive prices, Korean car brands have gained traction in the UK market in recent years. While manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia continue to climb in popularity, do they retain their value over time? 
    Understanding the long-term value retention of Korean-made cars and vans is crucial for both buyers and sellers. To help you get more money for your vehicle whenever you choose to sell, we explore the factors influencing the depreciation of Korean cars in the UK market.

    Korean car manufacturers 101

    Hyundai is an increasingly popular car brand for UK motorists.

    Korean cars are becoming a common sight on UK roads. Brands like Hyundai and Kia have cracked into the top 15 most popular cars in Great Britain, largely because of their affordability and mass-market appeal. 

    Known for making reliable, budget-friendly vehicles, Hyundai is a multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Seoul. Hyundai produces a range of vehicles under its own name, its luxury subsidiary Genesis Motors, and electric vehicle sub-brand Ioniq. 

    With a reputation for reliability and innovation, Hyundai models feature cutting-edge technology, stylish design, and impressive fuel efficiency. Bestsellers including the Tucson SUV and I10 city car are backed by a generous warranty, showing the brand’s confidence in its cars. According to Motorway data, the I10 was the fourth best car for retaining value in the UK, with value appreciating by over 26% from 2022 to 2023. 

    Based in Seoul, Kia is South Korea’s second largest car manufacturer, after its parent company Hyundai. Known for its blend of reliability, style, and value, Kia also offers an array of models, from compacts like the Picanto to spacious SUVs like the Sportage. Motorway data reveals that the Picanto ranks as the seventh best car for retaining value, and resale prices increased by over 23% between 2022 and 2023. Reliable, practical, and fuel efficient, Kias can be a great choice for wallet-conscious motorists.

    Both Hyundai and Kia have invested heavily in improving their product quality and customer service, factors that have contributed to their continued success in the UK automotive market.

    Aside from these two manufacturers, KGM Motors, designs quality SUVs and pick-up trucks. Recently rebranded as KGM from SsangYong earlier this year, the brand will launch two new SUVs this year and also has an electric pick-up and EV SUV coming down the pike. KGM maintains a small market share in the UK.

    Individual factors such as vehicle make and model, condition, mileage, and maintenance history, as well as macro factors such as market demand impact your car’s value over time. 

    With so many factors at play, there’s no one rule governing how much your Korean-made car depreciates over time. Tracking the value of your vehicle is the best way to make an informed decision on when selling your car or van is right for you. 

    Both Hyundai and Kia have shown positive valuation trends in recent years. Take a closer look: 

    BrandResale value reputationValue retention factors
    Hyundai😁 Excellent– Quality 
    – Reliability
    – Design and technology enhancements
    – Affordability with extensive warranty coverage
    Kia😁 Excellent– Quality 
    – Reliability
    – Affordability 
    Genesis (Hyundai subsidiary)🙂 Good– Establishing a presence in the luxury segment
    – Expanding line-up
    KGM Motors (Previously SsangYong)😐 Varied– Affordability 
    – Practicality
    – Electric vehicles

    Two leading Korean brands: Kia vs. Hyundai

    Hyundai and Kia have exhibited upward trends in resale values in the UK, thanks to continuous improvements in the quality, reliability, and performance of their mass-market vehicles.

    Two of the most popular Korean-made cars in the UK are Hyundais and Kias.

    The introduction of new models with advanced features and design enhancements has contributed to Hyundai’s increasing competitiveness in the used car market. Additionally, the brand’s aggressive pricing strategy and generous warranty coverage have bolstered its appeal to British buyers.

    Kia has also experienced a notable improvement in resale values over the past few years, driven by enhancements in design. Kia’s focus on value-oriented pricing and generous standard features have resonated well with buyers, leading to stronger resale values for models like the Sportage, Sorento, and Rio.

    As both brands continue to innovate and expand their lineup, their resale value trends are expected to remain positive, reflecting Korean cars’ growing UK market presence.

    Past reputation

    Whether true or not, brand reputation can influence resale pricing. Historically perceived as budget-friendly options, Hyundai and Kia have worked diligently to improve quality, reliability, and design, narrowing the gap with competitors. Yet they still face challenges in shedding their old image and matching the prestige of brands like Toyota and Honda. 

    These Japanese counterparts have long been known for their reliability and strong resale values, often outperforming Korean brands in this aspect. European brands like Volkswagen also tend to hold their value well, boasting a combination of performance, luxury, and brand cachet that can be hard for Korean brands to match.

    However, a reputation for affordability is not necessarily a negative. In fact, durable, budget-friendly vehicles are especially popular during economic contractions, such as our current cost of living crisis, as they offer more bang for your buck.

    Generous warranty

    Korean-made cars often come with extensive warranties. Warranties typically cover the cost of repairs or replacements within a specific period of time, providing motorists peace of mind when making substantial financial investments. 

    Kia and Hyundai’s warranties also underscore the brand’s commitment to quality and resounding trust in the durability of their vehicles – positives for buyers and sellers alike.


    Why are Korean cars so cheap?

    Cars made in Korea are often affordable due to efficient production processes, economies of scale, and competitive pricing strategies by manufacturers.

    Do Korean cars last long?

    Korean cars offer good longevity with improved quality and reliability, backed by extensive warranties for added peace of mind. However, routine maintanence and servicing are key to keeping any car looking, and running, like new. 

    What are the benefits of Korean cars?

    Korean cars offer British drivers many benefits. These include affordability, reliability, advanced features, and generous warranties. Plus, Korean makes and models including the Hyundai I10 and Kia Picanto, have actually increased in value year-over-year, making them a great investment. All in all, Korean cars and vans appeal to budget-conscious buyers seeking value and quality.

    How can I track the value of my car?

    If you’re not sure what your car’s value is to begin with, it’s hard to know how much its brand may impact the price.

    All vehicles depreciate at varying rates, with no rule of averages accurately describing any one car’s changing value. Motorway’s Car Value Tracker provides a free, reliable monthly price alert for up to six vehicles at once. 

    Follow changes to your car’s value to choose the best time to sell, and make informed choices about investments in your car’s maintenance.

    Ready to sell your car?

    Want to read more about owning, valuing, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from depreciation to maintaining your car’s value. Understand your car’s worth in the wider market.