20 Interesting Facts about KIA
For the longest time KIA was an underdog of the automotive industry. At the dawn of its history, the Korean company was a humble manufacturer, barely known to few industry professionals and unnoticeable to the public. However, the company is a living example of the rule that hard work, a little bit of creativity and fair share of luck can turn an unknown company into one of the top players of the world automotive industry. Nowadays, KIA produces distinctive, reliable, modern and relatively affordable cars. So, let us talk about KIA, shall we?
1. KIA was founded in 1944. Initially, the South Korean company was called KyungSung Precision Industry. In 1951, the company changed its name to KIA Industries. The company focused on manufacturing of personal vehicles, mainly bicycles and motorcycles. Much later, in the 1970s KIA launched its own line of cars and trucks.
2. According to KIA Motors, the name “Kia” derives from the Sino-Korean characters ki (起, “to come out”) and a (亞, which stands for East, Asia or both). Therefore, the name “Kia” is can be translated from Korean as “one, that came out of the east.”
3. During the mid-60’s the South Korean company closely cooperated with the famous Japanese automaker Mazda. It was a mutually beneficial partnership; thanks to this experience, KIA managed to develop its own engine in the early 70’s. Two years later, the company created the very first car of its own design. It was a subcompact named KIA Brisa, which was almost an exact copy of the Mazda 1300. The South Korean company actively exported KIA Brisa abroad. The first shipment was sent to Qatar.
4. As early as 1988, KIA produced its 1,000,000th car.
8. The first commercial success came to the South Korean company in 1986 after the creation of a subcompact KIA Pride. It was a copy of the Japanese automobile Mazda 121. The Korean vehicle turned out to be a very reliable, inexpensive. A total of about two million cars were built. Curiously, in some countries KIA Pride is being produced to this day.
5. In 1998, KIA failed victim to the financial crisis, caused by a sharp decline in sales. As a result, the company lost its independence and was acquired by another South Korean company – Hyundai Motor. In 1999, two Korean automakers united under the name of Hyundai KIA Automotive Group.
6. Nowadays, KIA Motors distribution network covers more than 190 countries. The total number of car dealerships exceeds 5000.
7. KIA has production facilities on all continents, except for Australia.
9. KIA Motors also owns the world’s largest car assembly factory. It is located in the city of Ulsan, South Korea.
10. The Cee’d is Kia’s first European-designed and built car and KIA intends to sell and manufacture the vehicle exclusively in Europe. The name of this most popular model is an abbreviation from the “Community of Europe and European Design”. During the design process, KIA Motors tried to comply with European quality standards. Accordingly, “CE” – the first two letters in the name stand for the European Community or Community of Europe. The second part – “ED”, respectively, is an abbreviation for European Design.
11. Many KIA models are named after geographical objects. For instance, Cerato – is translated from Greek as “peak”, Sorento is a city in Italy, Mohave is a desert in the southwest of the USA.
12. In 1990, KIA developed its own diesel engine DOHC, making another important step in the right direction. Two years later, the company opened its offices in the United States and Europe. The first model to be offered at those markets was the KIA Sephia, and a little bit later, the Korean company presented KIA Sportage, a crossover.
13. KIA Sportage deserves closer attention; released in 1994, it was the most popular SUV. The vehicle was based on the Mazda Bongo chassis. Initially, the Sportage was manufactured at the Karmann factory in the city of Osnabrück, Germany. The subsequent generations of the model were produced in Korea, Slovakia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan.
14. In 2013, the fourth generation KIA Carens became the best car of its class according to the version of Euro NCAP.
15. KIA is one of the largest sponsors of many excellent sports events. The most famous of them are the FIFA World Cup (World Football Championship) and the UEFA Championship (European Football Championship).
16. KIA automobiles received more than 500 different awards in different countries. For example, KIA Quoris is a car year in the UAE (2013); KIA Optima is the car of the year in the USA in 2012.
17. In 2006, the German designer Peter Schreyer, who used to work on the design of Audi and Volkswagen cars, became the chief designer of KIA Motors. Schreyer is responsible for one of the most distinctive design elements of all new KIA models, the so-called “Tiger Nose” radiator grille. The German designer became one of the key figures of the South Korean company. Since 2012, Peter has been one of the three directors of Kia, and in 2013, he became the director of the design department of the entire Hyundai Motor Group.
18. The KIA Quoris, also known as KIA K900 or K9, is the South Korean manufacturer’s new flagship saloon. The name Quoris derives from the English words “core” and “quality”. In addition, the name Quoris is akin to a word “chorus”.
19. The fourth-generation KIA Sportage sports distinctive visual style was developed by the KIA European design studio in Frankfurt with the participation of experts from Korean and American design studios.
20. KIA Soul was introduced at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. It is an extremely successful subcompact crossover, which has no direct competitors. Not long after its debut in North America, KIA Soul gained a reputation of the best vehicle among compact crossovers. One of the key factors of KIA Soul’s commercial success, apart from brilliant engineering, was a creative advertising campaign. Titled “A new way to roll”, the 1:00 min video features city streets with animated hamsters on stationary hamster wheels. This commercial became extremely popular on different video-sharing sites like YouTube and was awarded “Automotive Ad of the Year”. Go find it on the Internet; KIA Soul and a team of hamsters will cheer you up!