The full impact of their success in the region is revealed in an economic impact study carried out by London Economics, a leading policy consultancy.
It reveals that 253,000 people owe their jobs to the presence of the Korean carmakers and including customs duties, sales and income taxes they contribute almost £1.4 billion in revenue to European governments.
With factories in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hyundai and Kia purchase supplies worth an estimate £3 billion from European businesses.
Both South Korean car companies also grew their market share in the European market region, with Kia growing theirs by 15 per cent over 2011, even though the market overall fell by nearly 8 per cent.
The study further reveals that this success by Kia and Hyundai has been achieved by significant investments and some attractive cars. As well as the factories, design, R&D and sales and marketing headquarters are in Germany.
Kia opened a large European production plant based in Zilina, Slovakia that was completed back in 2007.
Investment by the Koreans has been instrumental in making the Czech Republic and Slovakia the world’s top two producers of cars per capita and 55 per cent of Hyundai and Kia cars sold in the EU are produced locally in the two plants.
As well as the existing facilities, construction of a new vehicle test centre at the Nürburgring race track in Germany was announced for the car brands in January with a further investment of around £4.7 million.
Kia’s status in the UK market alone has risen spectacularly in the last couple of years, thanks to the release of new exciting models with design work inspired by the award-winning Peter Schreyer.
Schreyer’s influence is now felt across the full current Kia car range, which includes the Picanto city car, the Rio supermini, Cee’d hatchback and Sportswagon, plus other modern releases like the Optima saloon.
For 2013 the Kia brand will be aiming to cement further growth in markets including Europe with the arrival of its first performance-focused models which include the Cee’d and Pro_cee’d GT hot hatches.
The full current Kia model range is available to UK motorists now at Perrys Kia Dealerships found in Burnley, Preston and Rotherham.