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KIA Motors
Founded 1944
Headquarters Seoul, South Korea
Number of locations Main Plant Locations: Hwaseong Plant, Hwaseong, South Korea; Sohari Plant, Gwangmyeong, South Korea; West Point Plant, Georgia, USA; Kwang-Ju Plant, Gwangju, South Korea; Seosan Plant, Seosan, South Korea; Slovakian Plant, Žilina, Slovakia
Area served International
Key people Byung-Mo Ahn: Group President and CEO Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia
Industry Automobile manufacturer
Products Automobiles
Employees 57,000 (as of July 10, 2009)
Parent Hyundai Kia Automotive Group (40%)
Kia Motors
Hanja 起亞自動車
Revised Romanization Gia Jadongcha
McCune–Reischauer Kia Chadongch'a
This article contains Korean text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Hangul or hanja.

Kia Motors (Korean: 기아자동차) is South Korea's second largest automobile manufacturer. It sold over 1,650,920 cars in 2009.[1] With its headquarters in Seoul, it is owned by the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group. Its CEO is Chung Eui-sun. The American arm is Kia Motors America. On October 20, 2006, Kia Motors America formally hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its first United States assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, at an initial cost of over $1 billion. Since 2005, Kia has started to focus on the European market and is currently one of the UK's fastest growing car companies and had various other successes in the European market.



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".[2][3]

South Korea's oldest car company, Kia was founded in 1944 as a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycles. In 1952, Kia changed its name from Kyungsung Precision Industry,[4] and later built motorcycles (starting in 1957), trucks (1962) and cars (1974). Starting in 1986, in partnership with Ford, Kia produced several Mazda derived vehicles for both domestic sales in South Korea into other countries. These models include the Pride (based on the Mazda 121) and 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.

However, Kia's bankruptcy in 1997, part of the Asian financial crisis, resulted in 51% of the company being acquired in 1998 by South Korean rival Hyundai Motor Company, outbidding Ford Motor Company which had owned an interest in Kia Motors since 1986.[5] Subsequently, however, Hyundai has divested some of its ownership of Kia Motors[6], and currently Hyundai Motor Company owns less than 40% of the company.

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia

Affiliations and subsidiaries


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 640 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, Georgia, U.S.A.. The facility is building the 2011 Kia Sorento crossover vehicle.

Kia Defense

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 half ton to three quarter ton variants of the M715
  • KM-45 modern variant of the M715
  • KM-25 variant of the M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck
  • KM-50 variant of the M809 Truck both as 5 ton and 7 ton variants
  • KM-100 8x8 heavy tactical truck
  • K53 similar to the Swedish BV amphibious tracked vehicle

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, 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 Germany. From 1999 until production of the model ceased in 2003, all Sportage production reverted to South Korea.

Kia began importing cars to Europe in early 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.

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 has been popular across Europe, but since 2002 Kia has gained more sales in this market thanks to the launch of the larger Sorento.

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, but on its launch was actually cheaper to buy than the smaller Focus. 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 Motor Company, Vauxhall/Opel, Renault 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.

2004 saw the commencement of European imports for the Kia Picanto city car. It has proved very popular with budget buyers in most of Europe.

As of 2007, Kia has been importing cars to Europe for 16 years. On its arrival, just one model was being sold. The range has gradually expanded over that time so the marque has a competitor in just about every sector except for the luxury and sports market. Sales of its products have so far failed to match those of established European brands, but current sales records have been impressive for a marque which only arrived in Europe at the start of the previous decade.


Kia Forte Hybrid

Passenger cars


Commercial vehicles

  • K2700/Strong/3000S/2500TCI- KMC only
  • K4000s - KMC only
  • AM928 - KMC only
  • Granbird - KMC only

Concept cars

  • Slice
  • Rondo SX
  • Multi S
  • KCV-4 Mojave           

Hybrid vehicles

Kia has unveiled world premiers in the 2008 Paris Motor Show:[7]


Kia Motors sponsors the following sports teams, events and athletes:

See also


External links


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