Why Buy a Kia?Buying Guides • Advice • Reviews
Kia is South Korea's second largest vehicle manufacturer, after Hyundai Motor company, and is currently headquartered in Seoul; however, the corporation's sales and marketing department in the United States is located in Irvine, California. The company is currently the fastest growing automobile manufacturer, and Korea's oldest car producer. The name Kia means to arise out of Asia, and the company has truly arisen out of Asia and become a global contestant in the car manufacturing world. Below are the top 25 Kia most important manufacturing events.
1) 1944 - Kia Motors Manufacturing corporation was established and originally named Kyungsung Precision Industry.
2) 1951 - Kia produced the first bicycle in Korea.
3) 1961 - Kia produced the first motorcycle in Korea.
4) 1962 - Kia produced the first domestically produced truck in Korea, which was called the K-360.
5) 1974 - Kia produced its first passenger car, the Brisa, which was Korea's first passenger car that was produced domestically.
6) 1986 - Kia produced the Pride, the company's best selling vehicle. At the time, the company had only produced 26 vehicles.
7) 1987 - Kia partnered with Ford and produced over 95,000 vehicles including Mazda vehicles, which were sold both domestically and exported to North America and other countries under the names the Ford Festiva and the Ford Aspire.
8) 1991 - Kia began exporting cars to Europe by the middle of June. Cars were initially well received, however sales fell by the end of the decade.
9) 1992 - Kia Motors America became an incorporated business in the United States.
10) 1994 - Kia's first branded car, the Sephia, was sold at 4 dealerships in Portland, Oregon.
11) 1995 - The Korean car manufacturer expanded production in America one region at time, and by 1995, there were over one hundred Kia dealerships in thirty states, which sold 24,740 vehicles by the end of the year.
12) 1997 - Kia had to declare bankruptcy after being largely afflicted by the Asian financial crisis.
13) 1998 - Hyundai Motor company outbid Ford Motor Company to acquire 51 percent of Kia Motors. However, Hyundai lost a large part of ownership following divestments and eventually ended up with just 32.8 percent ownership of Kia.
14) 1999 - Kia entered Europe's large family car market with its launch of the Credos four-door sedan.
15) 2002 - Kia produced the Sorento, the brand's first SUV, which helped the company gain a market share in Europe.
16) 2005 - Kia began focusing on the European market.
17) 2006 - In March, the President of Kia signed an agreement with the Governor of Georgia to build the company's first manufacturing plant in West Point. In October, the company held a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the facility.
18) 2007 - Kia announced that the company's first production of vehicles produced in the US would focus on the Kia Sorento.
19) 2008 - Kia opened its first online application process in January. By August, the company's first hourly employees began working at the Georgia car plant.
20) 2009 - By March, team members from Kia begin arriving at West Point, and by April all team members were working out the Georgia site mass producing the 2011 Kia Sorento. Kia firmly established itself as a popular car brand in Britain during that same year and earned about 2 percent of the new car market share in the European country.
21) 2010 - By April, the Georgia Kia plant had produced its 50,000th vehicle, and the corporation announced new hiring plans. By September, production reached 100,000, and the company began producing the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. By November, the company announced another wave of hiring.
22) 2011 - In April, Kia announced that the company would begin producing the 2011 Kia Optima in Georgia. In May, the car manufacturer donated $1.5 million to help with reconstruction following the Georgia tornado disaster. By July, the company had produced over 300,000 vehicles. In September, they announced they would begin mass producing the 2012 Kia Optima. That same month, the Kia Optima Hybrid achieved the Guinness World Record for having the best fuel economy traveling across the continental US at 65mpg. By October, the Georgia plant had produced its 400,000th vehicle.
23) 2012 - In January, Kia completed expansion on its plant in West Point in order to have the capacity to produce 360,000 vehicles every year. By February, the company had produced its 500,000th vehicle at the Georgia plant. Two months later, they are named Georgia's Large Manufacturer of the Year. In November, Kia announced they would invest $1.6 billion in efficiencies and equipment at their US plant.
24) 2013 - In June, Kia donated $600,000 to the Troup County's career academy and $850,000 to the city of West Point. The next month, the company announced it had produced its millionth vehicle at its Georgia plant. Despite difficulties in the European market, Kia car sales increased in 2013.
25) 2014 - In August, Pope Francis of the Catholic Church was seen riding around on a Kia Soul during his 5-day trip in South Korea. The company is also currently building a plant in Nuevo Leon, Mexico that is expected to be completed in 2016.
About 30 percent of Kia is owned by Hyundai and together, the car companies employ over 120,000 dependents around the world. Last year, Kia reported annual revenues of over $14.6 billion, and the Kia-Hyundai group reportedly earned over $100 billion. Kia has achieved exponential growth in the past couple of years, both in terms of availability, especially in the United States, and in market share. There are over one million Kia vehicles currently being driven in the United States, and the number is scheduled to grow even more in the next coming decade. This growth was propelled by the company's mantra of producing high quality vehicles at a good value price. Kia vehicles currently come with a ten year, 100,000 mile warranty and have excelled in safety tests.