Kia Motors

Kia Motors Corporation (Korean기아자동차IPA: [ki.a]), headquartered in Seoul, is South Korea's second-largest automobile manufacturer, following the Hyundai Motor Company, with sales of over 2.7 million vehicles in 2012. As of June 2012, the company is 32.8% owned by the Hyundai Motor Company.
June 9, 1944
Seoul, South Korea
Area served
Key People
Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee, Vice Chairman and CEO
Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer
Hyundai Motor Group (33.99%)
Website – U.S. site

Kia Motors
Revised Romanization
Gia Jadongcha
Kia Chadongch'a


According to Kia Motors, the name "Kia" derives from the Sino-Korean words ki ("to come out") and a (which stands for Asia), it is roughly translated as "arise or come up out of Asia" or "rising out of Asia".
Kia mixte frame bicycle
South Korea's oldest car company, Kia was founded on June 9, 1944 as a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycle parts by hand – and has operated as one of the country's Chaebols since then. In 1951 Kia began building complete bicycles. In 1952, Kia changed its name from Kyungsung Precision Industry, and later built motorcycles (starting in 1957), trucks (1962) and cars (1974). The company opened its first integrated automotive assembly plant in 1973, the Sohari Plant. Kia built the small Brisarange of cars until 1981, when production came to an end after the new military dictator Chun Doo-hwan enforced industry consolidation, meaning Kia had to give up passenger cars and focus entirely on light trucks.
Starting in 1986 (when a mere 26 cars were built, followed by over 95,000 the next year), Kia rejoined the automobile industry in partnership with Ford. Kia produced several Mazda-derived vehicles for both domestic sales in South Korea and for export into other countries. These models included the Kia Pride, based on the Mazda 121, and the Avella, which were sold in North America and Australasia as the Ford Festiva and Ford Aspire.
In 1992, Kia Motors America was incorporated in the United States. The first Kia-branded vehicles in the United States were sold from four dealerships in Portland, Oregon in February 1994. Since then, Kia expanded methodically one region at a time. Dealers in 1994 sold the Sephia, and a few years later the United States line expanded with the addition of the Sportage. By 1995, there existed over one hundred Kia dealerships across thirty states, selling a record 24,740 automobiles.
However, during the Asian financial crisis, Kia declared bankruptcy in 1997; in 1998 Hyundai Motor Company acquired 51% of the company outbidding Ford Motor Company which had owned an interest in Kia Motors since 1986. After subsequent divestments, Hyundai Motor Company owns less than 50% of the company.
Since 2005, Kia has focused on the European market and has identified design as its "core future growth engine"—leading to the hiring of Peter Schreyer in 2006 as Chief Design Officer and his subsequent creation of a new corporate grille known as the 'Tiger Nose'.
In October 2006, Kia Motors America broke ground for Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia in West Point, Georgia, representing a $1 billion USD investment for the company. Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia opened in February 2010, after Kia recorded its 15th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share.

Affiliations and subsidiaries

Hyundai Motor Company

The company is 32.8% owned by the Hyundai Motor Company.

Kia Motors Corporation

Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) was founded in 1944, is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles and is now a subsidiary of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group. Over 1.5 million vehicles a year are produced in 13 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 172 countries. Kia today has over 42,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of over US$14.6 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA – the governing body of the FIFA World Cup. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan is "The Power to Surprise". From August 2009 until December 2012, the company has been led by Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee.

Kia Motors America

Kia Motors America (KMA) is the American sales, marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 755 dealers throughout the United States. For 2008, KMA recorded its 14th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. In August 2009, Kia was the 8th-best selling automotive brand in the United States, outselling makes like Chrysler and Mazda.
In November 2009, Kia started production at the first U.S. Kia Motors plant, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia in West Point. The facility is building the 2012Kia Sorento crossover vehicle and the 2012 Kia Optima sedan.

Kia Motors Europe

Kia Motors Europe (KME) is the European sales and marketing division of Kia Motors Corporation (KMC). In 2007 KME moved from its previous location at Hauptstrasse 185, Eschborn (near Frankfurt) to a new purpose built facility adjacent to the Messe in Frankfurt city centre.
From 1995 to 1999 Kia produced left and right hand drive versions of the Sportage SUV at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück, Germany. From 1999 until production of the model ceased in 2003, all Sportage production reverted to South Korea.
Kia began exporting cars to Europe in mid-1991, initially selling just the Pride mini-car. It initially proved popular with buyers but sales fell towards the end of the decade and the end of production was finally announced in May 2000, with its successor—the Rio—not going on sale for another year.
By the end of 1991, Kia had sold nearly 1,800 Prides in the United Kingdom. The first full year, 1992, saw that figure double, and in 1993 it increased again to nearly 5,500.
The European range expanded in 1994 when Kia began importing the larger Mentor, a range of medium sized hatchbacks and sedan which were marketed as cheap and well-equipped alternatives to the likes of the Ford Escort and Vauxhall/Opel Astra.
A facelift in 1999 saw the Mentor name retained for the saloon, but the hatchback was renamed Shuma. These models remained on sale until 2004, when the newer Cerato was launched and gave Kia one of its first serious competitors for mainstream brands.
The Sportage SUV range, first sold in 1995, has been popular across Europe, but since 2002 Kia has gained more sales in this market thanks to the launch of the larger Sorento.
Despite Kia's range increasing from one car as late as 1993 to three cars by the end of 1995, British sales actually decreased in that period, from nearly 5,500 in 1993 to less than 4,000 the following year. In 1998, Kia's future in Britain was thrown into serious doubt when it sold less than 3,000 of its whole range – the worst in any full year on the British market.
Kia did not enter Europe's large family car market until the launch of its Credos four-door sedan in 1999. This car was similar in size to the Ford Mondeo and Opel/Vauxhall Vectra, but on its launch was actually cheaper to buy than the smaller Focus and Astra. It had a spacious interior, large boot, competitive asking price and high equipment levels, but it had little more appeal to sway buyers away from established European brands like Ford of Europe, Vauxhall/Opel, Citroën and Peugeot. Its successor, the Magentis, launched in 2001, was still nowhere near as popular as Kia might have hoped it would be.
Kia entered the MPV market in 1999 with the Sedona. On its launch, it was the cheapest full-size people carrier on sale in the United Kingdom.
With the range expanded by 1999, sales for that year reached almost 6,400 – more than double the previous year's total. That annual sales figure had almost been matched in 2000 by the end of May, reflecting Kia's growing popularity with British buyers. By 2009, Kia was firmly established as a popular brand in Britain, when sales broke the 50,000 barrier for the first time and the brand now had a share of more than 2% in the new car market. The Picanto was the most popular single model with nearly 17,000 sales.
Although the European car market knows significant difficulties, Kia boardcast increased sales in 2013.

Kia Defense

Kia KM420
Kia Motors has specialized in the production of military vehicles with variants and other transportation equipment and by supplying them as a sole maker of military vehicles designated by the South Korean Government since 1976, when Kia Heavy Industry Co., Ltd was established. Kia is currently designing a Kaiser Jeep M715-type vehicle named the KM450 for the South Korean Army on license from the U.S. Government. KIA Defense produces six vehicles:
  • KM42 Series (alternately K 131) quarter ton Utility Vehicle
  • KM-45 Series half ton to three quarter ton modern variant of the M715
  • KM-25 Series variant of the M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck
  • KM-50 Series variant of the M809 Truck both as 5 ton and 7 ton variants
  • KM-100 Series 8×8 heavy tactical truck
  • K53 Series similar to the Swedish BV amphibious tracked vehicle


Kia Motors Manufacturing Facilty in West Point, Georgia, USA.
A KIA shop in Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Most of Kia's main plant locations are in South Korea:
  • Hwaseong Plant, Hwaseong
  • Sohari Plant, Gwangmyeong
  • Gwangju Plant, Gwangju
  • Seosan Plant, Seosan
Kia also has facilities in Malaysia, Slovakia, China, Vietnam, Russia and the United States:
  • Gurun, Kedah, Malaysia
  • Žilina Plant, Žilina, Slovakia
  • Yancheng Plant, Jiangsu, China
  • Chu Lai Plant, Quang Nam, Vietnam
  • West Point Plant, Georgia, USA
  • Sankt Petersburg Plant, Russia. Built Kia Rio.

List of Kia Motors car models

Current models
Bongo, Cadenza, Carens, Cee'd, Cerato, Cerato Forte, Cerato Koup, Euro Carens, Forte, Forte Koup, K-Series, K2, K5, K7, K9, Koup, Morning, Optima, Optima K5, Picanto, Pregio, Pride, Quoris, Ray, Rio, Rondo, Shuma, Sorento, Sorento R, Soul, Sportage, Venga
Historic models
Amanti, Avella, Besta, Bongo Frontier, Borrego, Brisa, Capital, Carnival, Carnival R, Carstar, Clarus, Concord, Credos, Elan, Enterprise, Euro Star, Grand Carnival, Joice, Lotze, Lotze Advance, Lotze Innovation, Magentis, Mentor, Mohave, New Pride, Opirus, Optima Regal, Qianlima, Parktown, Potentia, Pride, Retona, Retona Cruiser, Rondo7, Sedona, Sephia, Shuma, Spectra, VQ, Visto, X-Trek
Concept & prototypes
Borrego Limited SEMA, Carens, Cee'd, Cerato Green, ex-Cee'd, Forte Koup Grand-Am Koni, GT, KCD-I Slice, KCD-II, KCV-III, KCV4 Mojave, Kee, KND-4, KND-5, Koup, KV7, Ignition Soul, Kue, MPLA Rio5, Multi-S   Crossover, Naimo, No 3 Concept MPV, Optima Turbo SX, Pop, pro-Cee'd, Ray PHEV, Rondo SX, Sidewinder, Soul, Soul APRIL System, Soul Safety Car, Soulster, Soul Burner, Sportage FCEV, Sports Coupe, Sport, Trackster, Venga EV

Design emphasis

In the past, the Kia cars were very neutral. When you saw one on the road, you didn't really know if it was Korean or Japanese…I think it's very important that you are able to recognise a Kia at first sight.
—Peter Schreyer
Beginning in 2006 Kia identified design as its "core future growth engine" – leading to the 2006 hiring of Peter Schreyer as Chief Design Officer. Schreyer had previously worked at Audi (designing the Audi TT) and Volkswagen and had won the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Schreyer has since been central to a complete restyling of Kia's lineup, overseeing design activities at Kia's design centers in Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Tokyo and the Namyang Design Center in Korea.
With the Kee concept vehicle, shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007, Kia introduced a new corporate grille to create a recognizable 'face' for the brand. Known as the Tiger Nose, Shreyer indicated he wanted "a powerful visual signal, a seal, an identifier. The front of a car needs this recognition, this expression. A car needs a face and I think the new Kia face is strong and distinctive. Visibility is vital and that face should immediately allow you to identify a Kia even from a distance." Commenting on the new signature grille in 2009: "From now on, we'll have it on all our cars".


In late 2012, Kia Motors was forced to admit error in inflating its EPA mileage claims and had to reduce its fuel economy claims in the U.S. by about 3 per cent across the board and to offer compensation to previous vehicle buyers.


UEFA Euro 2012
Kia Motors sponsors the following sports teams, events and athletes:
Sports associations
  • National Basketball Association (NBA)
  • Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
  • Liga ACB
Sports events
  • FIFA World Cup
  • UEFA Euro
  • FIBA Asia Championship
  • FITA Archery World Cup
  • Australian Open (tennis tournament)
  • Copa Kia do Brasil (football tournament)
  • Kia Classic (LPGA)
  • X Games
  • Korea Speed Festival
Sports teams
  • Kia Tigers
  • South Korea national speed skating team
  • Slovakia national football team
  • Philippines national football team
  • Essendon Football Club (Australian Football League)
  • FC Girondins de Bordeaux (French association football team)      
  • Qormi FC (Maltese association football team)
  • Spartak Moscow (Russian association football team)
  • Surrey County Cricket Club
  • Toronto Football Club (MLS)
  • Vitória Futebol Clube (Portugal association football team)
  • Rafael Nadal (Global brand ambassador)
  • Fernando González (Chilean tennis player – 2004 & 2008 Olympic medalist)
  • Badr Hari (Moroccan kickboxer)
  • Manny Pacquiao (Filipino boxer)
  • Michelle Wie (Official golf ambassador & spokesperson – KMA)
  • Ryan Ford (MMA fighter)
  • Carla Abellana (Filipina Actress)
Music events
  • Live at The Chapel (Australian music concert)
  • Vans Warped Tour
Charity events
  • We Can Be Heroes (joint-venture between Kia and DC Comics)


Kia Borrego
Kia Cadenza
Kia Cee'd
Kia Forte
Kia Granbird
Kia Optima
Kia Picanto
Kia Rio
Kia Rondo
Kia Sedona
Kia Sorento
Kia Soul
Kia Sportage
Kia Venga
Last updated on 18 November 2013 at 10:31.


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