12 Facts You Didn’t Know About Kia Motors

November 20th, 2023 by

Interesting Facts About Kia Motors

Kia history

Kia Motors is a company with a rich history and a bright future. From its humble beginnings as a bicycle manufacturer in South Korea to becoming the world’s fifth-largest vehicle manufacturer, Kia has come a long way. Let’s dive into the fascinating journey of Kia Motors and explore some interesting facts that you might not have known.

1. Origin as a Bicycle Manufacturer

 Kia Corporation, originally known as Kyungsung Precision Industry, began its journey in May 1944 as a bicycle manufacturer. The company unveiled Korea’s first bicycle, the Samchully, in 1952 and later, in 1974, introduced its first passenger car, the Brisa.

2. The Meaning of ‘Kia’

The name ‘Kia’ is a combination of the Sino-Korean characters ‘Ki’ and ‘A.’ ‘Ki’ means to rise or come out, and ‘A’ means East or Asia. So, the name Kia essentially translates to ‘rising from the east’ or ‘coming from Asia,’ reflecting the brand’s heritage.

3. Kia’s Engine Development

In the 1970s, Kia partnered with the Japanese automaker Mazda, gaining invaluable experience. This partnership enabled Kia to develop its very first engine, a significant milestone that paved the way for the launch of its first passenger car, the Brisa, which was inspired by Mazda’s 1300.

4. Production Halt in 1979

The political landscape in South Korea took a drastic turn in 1979 when a military dictatorship took over the government. As a result, many industries, including Kia, had to halt their operations to support military production.

5. Ford’s Helping Hand

After the political upheaval, Kia found itself without the resources and technical infrastructure to restart passenger car production. During this challenging period, Kia entered into a partnership with Ford, manufacturing some of Ford’s models under license for the South Korean market.

6. Commercial Success with the Kia Pride

Kia achieved its first commercial success in 1986 with the production of the Kia Pride, a car based on the Mazda 121. In North America, the same vehicle was sold as the Ford Festiva. The Korean-made car received a warm reception, with Kia selling two million units.

7. Diesel Engine Development in the 90s

In 1990, Kia made significant strides by developing its first DOHC diesel engine. Two years later, the company incorporated Kia Motors America in the United States, marking the beginning of its American journey with the launch of the Kia Sephia. The Kia Sportage, a crossover SUV, later became a hit in the American market.

8. Hyundai’s Acquisition in 1998

Kia faced bankruptcy during the Asian financial crisis but emerged with the support of Hyundai Motors. Hyundai acquired a 51 percent stake in Kia, making it the largest stakeholder. This collaboration has allowed both brands to share engine designs and technologies.

9. A Global Record of Awards

Kia’s dedication to quality, safety, and innovative design has earned it over 500 awards worldwide. These accolades have come from various countries, including the UAE and the United States. Notably, the Kia Telluride recently won the prestigious ‘Triple Crown’ automotive award, being the first SUV to achieve this honor.

10. Military Vehicle Manufacturer

Kia is the official supplier of military vehicles to the South Korean Army. It is the sole research institute for developing Korean military vehicles, and it also supplies military vehicles to 20 foreign nations.

11. Sponsorship in the World of Sports

Kia is a major sponsor of various sports events, including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Championship, and the NBA. The company also supports individual athletes like Rafael Nadal and LeBron James, further extending its influence in the world of sports.

12. Redesigned Logo and Slogan

Kia recently underwent a brand revamp, introducing a new logo and slogan. The redesigned logo, ‘KIΛ,’ signifies confidence, rising ambitions, and a shift from old to new. The new slogan, ‘Movement that Inspires,’ reflects the brand’s commitment to innovative progress.

Learn More: Let’s Talk About Rebranding: The Story Behind Kia’s Logo Switch

Buy Your Next Kia at Battleground Kia

At Battleground Kia, we strive to provide a seamless car buying experience. Our experts will guide you to choose the right car for your budget and maximize your investment. Are you ready to choose from multiple vehicles in our inventory? Contact us today, and we’ll gladly answer your questions and concerns.

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