A white dog with a sunglass driving a toy car

How to Say ‘Car’ in Korean

You may already know how to describe public transportation in Korean, but do you yet know how to say ‘car’ in Korean? Can you yet name car manufacturers in Korea? In this lesson, you’ll learn the vocabulary and names for both.

A white dog with a sunglass driving a toy car

‘Car’ in Korean

The basic word for car in Korean is 자동차 (jadongcha). However, outside of official use, it is not common. Instead, if you are speaking or texting to a friend and wish to refer to a car, you can simply use 차 (cha).

If you wish to say you are going somewhere by car, the basic phrase to use is 차를 타다 (chareul thada). This verb stem can either be used with the past tense -ㅆ다 (-ㅆ da) or -고 있다 (-go itda), the tense implying continuous action. The latter can only be used if you are currently in the car, but the past tense works whether you’re still in the car or already got out of it.

Dealer Vehicles In Stock

There are also other ways for how to say ‘car’ in Korean, but while this vocabulary is good to know in order to richen your knowledge of Korean, you’re less likely to need them in actual conversation.

승용차 (seungyongcha) = (passenger) car

차량 (charyang) = car (especially parked ones), vehicle

자가용 (jagayong) = one’s own car

중고차 (junggocha) = used car

전기 자동차 (jeongi jadongcha) = electric car

화물차 (hwamulcha= truck

승합차 (seunghabcha) = van

용달차 (yongdalcha)= delivery van

쓰레기차 (sseuregicha)= garbage truck

순찰차 (sunchalcha)= police car

In addition, South Korea also has a booming car manufacturing industry. Thus, it might come in handy to learn some specific vocabulary related to Korea’s car industry as well.

자동차 산업 (jadongcha saneob) = car industry

자동차 회사 (jadongcha hwoesa) = automobile company

현대 (hyeondae) = Hyundai

기아자동차 (giajadongcha) = Kia Motors

쉐보레 (daeujadongcha) = Chevrolet | GM Korea

르노삼성자동차 (reunosamseongjadongcha) = Renault samsung Motors

쌍용자동차 (ssangyongjadongcha) = SsangYong Motor

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A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?

Sample Sentences


차를 운전할 줄 알아요? (chareul unjeonhal jul arayo?)

Do you know how to drive a car?

저는 자동차로 출근해요. (jeoneun jadongcharo chulgeunhaeyo.)

I go to work by car.

우리는 남자친구의 차를 타고 여행갈거에요. (urineun namjachingue chareul thago yeohengkalgeoeyo.)

We’ll take my boyfriend’s car and go on vacation.


Knowing basic words like this is a great base to jump off in your Korean studies. So what’s your favorite Korean Car brand? Any on your wishlist? Let us know in the comments below!

Want more Korean phrases? Click here for a complete list!

Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto

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