History of brand KIA…may be interesting for someone)
“Kia” (Kia Motors Corporation), the oldest South Korean car company. Its headquarters is located in Seoul. The company “Kia” was founded in 1944.
Kia Motors Corporation is considered by some experts to be the first Korean “carmaker. Of course, there is a certain amount of convention in this, because at the time of its formation the company was not engaged in the production of cars, and its name was not KIA, but KyungSung Precision Industry. But since its founding on May 15, 1944 the key activity of the company has been personal vehicles. At that time the KyungSung Precision Industry plant in southern Seoul was manufacturing parts for bicycles by hand. By the way, “precision industry” translates into Russian as “precision engineering. One can imagine the level of technological development in a country where the artisanal production of bicycle parts is called precision engineering. In those years there was an acute shortage of individual vehicles in Korea, and bicycles were mostly purchased abroad by local trading companies. Kyungsung Precision Industry decided to change the situation, and two years later the first mass-produced Korean-made Samcholli-ho bicycle appeared. But it was not so easy to put it on the assembly line: on the one hand, the company was not doing very well, and the war was coming. After the outbreak of war it was decided to evacuate the plant to a calmer place – so the company ended up in Busan. In 1952, Korea was one of the poorest Asian countries, and the production of bicycles was a technological breakthrough. By that time Kyungsung Precision Industry had already been renamed KIA Industrial Company. Interestingly, the company borrowed the new name from one of its own bicycles. To meet the growing demand for bicycles in 1955, KIA built another plant in Scheihung. But for the young and ambitious company, the past achievements were no longer enough. And the management made a decision to master the production of motor vehicles. In 1961, the company started assembly production of C-100 motorcycles, which became the first Korean motor vehicle. The transition from two-wheelers to four-wheelers was gradual – the first truck that left the factory in 1962 was … three-wheelers. Production of three-wheelers continued until 1973, and motorcycle production was phased out in 1981. In 1965, KIA began selling bicycles in the United States. Six years later, the plant began producing Titapi Boxer four-wheelers. The popularity of these models was such that the word “Titan” for many years had become a common noun, meaning trucks in general. In the same year, the company signed a cooperation agreement with the Japanese concern Mazda, and later many KIA models were created using the developments of Japanese designers. In 1972, four local companies, including Kia Industrial Company, got a license for the production of cars, and a few months later the first Korean gasoline engine was designed. This development gave the company a strong impetus for further development. In 1974, the first Korean passenger car – Brisa – rolled off the assembly line of the Sohari plant. To be fair, it should be noted that Mazda engineering solutions were used in the development of the model, all the same the Korean car industry was still too young. The car looked a lot like the Mazda 1300. The car was equipped with a small economical engine of eight hundred cubic centimeters of volume.
It was the Brisa that became the first Korean car to be sold for export.
In 1975 the company sold several copies of its brainchild to the small Middle East state of Qatar. The volume of delivery did not exceed two dozens of cars, but as they say, “evil is the beginning”. In the seventies, the company created several subsidiaries, Kia Service Corp. and Kia Machine Toal Ltd. But in 1976 the most important achievement of Kia was acquisition of Asia Motors, which produced heavy and medium duty trucks, and all-terrain vehicles for the army. The company began producing cars equipped with diesel engines, which were developed in 1978. Also, thanks to its growing fame and high quality products, the company received the rights to manufacture Peugeot 604 and Fiat 132 sedans for the domestic market. In 1981, the company phased out production of all four of its passenger cars. The company launches Bongo family of commercial vehicles: a light truck, van and farm pickup.
In 1983, the lineup is completed by another truck – Ceres. By the way, on the domestic market, KIA is still the leader in producing vehicles of this class.
Soon Kia again returned to the market of “civilian” models. It started with the fact that in 1983 Mazda acquired 8% of the company, and then Kia opened a new “front” of its own research and development center. Soon KIA establishes several more research centers, one of which is in Japan. Three years later, an agreement was made with Ford, under which the U.S. corporation would acquire an additional 10 percent stake. An alliance with the world’s largest auto manufacturers immediately brought Kia success. The company’s first really outstanding production achievement was the Pride micro-car, based on the Mazda 121 in 1987. The obvious advantages of the Pride, which was also produced under the name of Festiva, are evidenced by the fact that in some parts of the world this model is still being produced today without any serious changes. All in all, about 2,000,000 of these babies have been produced, practical, reliable and accessible to the general population.
The company’s business is beginning to take off sharply. Kia had its own steel mill and founded its own basketball team. The lineup expanded with the Concord sedan with a two-liter gasoline engine and Capita1 with a 1.5-liter engine.
In 1988 Kia produced its one-millionth car. At the same time the company continues to actively develop another important area of its activities – the production of commercial vehicles. The Rhino and Trade models, as well as Besta minibus soon rolled off the assembly line.
Those years began Kia’s triumphant ascent to the Olympus of the global automotive industry. But the brand’s finest hour came in 1990, when the company transformed into KIA Motors Corporation. A new 1.5 DOHC engine was developed, which could be later found on many Korean-made cars. In 1992, Kia opened a sales office in America, and a year later, it “breaks through the window to Europe” with the Sephia, which had been unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show a few months earlier. Then, a compact off-road vehicle Sportage appears, on the development of which the company spent almost ten years. The model turned out to be more than successful.
The Avella joins the lineup, continuing the line of bestsellers Pride and Credos. The firm was beginning to transform from the “ugly ducklings” of the global automotive industry into a “white swan”. By May 1995, Kia’s exports exceeded 1,000,000 vehicles. The company was one of the top three automakers in Korea and was consolidating its position in the world market.
The economic crisis of 1997 struck Asia like a tsunami. KIA recognizes its financial insolvency. After the bankruptcy of KIA Korea Development Bank began collecting bids for the purchase of the company. Ford was among those who wanted to buy the company, but eventually KIA was pulled out of the debt pit by Hyundai. At present, the lineup of cars produced by Kia for different countries differs only in names of models and nuances of packages. In the subcompact segment, the aforementioned Vista, the veteran Pride, and the novelty Rio, which replaced the outdated Avella. By the way, in 2003, the nice “kid” Rio won the world championship on ice racing.
The most popular “segment” of the car market, the so-called “golf class” is represented by the Cerato sedan, which took the baton from Sephia II and Shuma models. Last year, the Cerato won the Journalists Association of Canada award.
In business class, Kia Motors offers the respectable Opirus and Magentis sedans, the latter acting under the Optima brand name in the U.S.
The Kia family of SUVs is represented by the elegant Sorento and the compact Sportage, revived like a Phoenix from the ashes.
In addition, the contemporary Kia lineup includes the family-friendly Carnival minivan and, of course, a wide range of commercial vehicles.
Three years ago, Kia Motors celebrated the production of its ten-millionth car. Today, products bearing the Kia logo are sold in more than 170 countries around the world and the total production exceeds 650,000 vehicles per year.
Where are Kia cars made for Russia and other countries?
One of the main characteristics of the company Kia is that the cars are assembled in the branches of the countries where they will subsequently be sold. Photo: plant Kia in the U.S.
It should be noted that the appearance and technical characteristics of one model may directly depend on the branch, on the facilities of which the car is produced.
The most powerful enterprise in Russia, where Kia products are made, is the Kaliningrad plant “Avtotor”.
The car Kia Rio is considered one of the best-selling cars on the world market, particularly in Russia. Car enthusiasts, first of all, note the high quality of assembly, nice design and low cost.
As mentioned above, for Russia Rio is assembled at the Kaliningrad plant.
Among the countries producing Rio was Ukraine, where Kia Rio was assembled at the LUAZ plant. Not to forget the branches in Thailand, India, China, Ecuador and South Korea.
Golf-class car, which for the past few years is among the leaders in sales.
For the Russian market, Cid is assembled at Autotor in Kaliningrad, and for the CIS markets, at the plant in Kazakhstan.
The most powerful plant is the South Korean company whose products can be found in all parts of the world.
Assembly of Kia cars in Mexico
The Kia Carnival is one of the most “ancient” cars of the Korean concern, which has been assembled since 1998. Since that time, the car has gone through three modifications, each of which was made at a plant in South Korea.
Also, until 2014, the car was produced in the UK and the U.S., but there it was called Kia Sedona.
At the moment, the Cerato is on the list of sales leaders in Russia. Until 2013, the car was made in South Korea and Kazakhstan.
It is worth noting that a new modification of the model is also assembled at the Russian plant.
In 2006, when the second generation of the Cerato was presented, the “Korean” began to assemble in the United States. Kia Clarus
The Clarus is one of the few Korean cars that was assembled exclusively at its native plants. To be fair, it should be noted that a small period of time the assembly took place at the Kaliningrad Avtotor.
Even at the initial stage of development, company representatives claimed that the Kia Mojave SUV would be supplied only to the United States. But later, it was decided to export the model to the Russian market as well.
To date, the Mojave is assembled at the Kaliningrad Avtotor, as well as in Kazakhstan and South Korea.
It is worth noting that in the U.S. the SUV is referred to as Kia Borrego.
Photo: Kia assembly in Korea.
Kia Opirus and Kia Quorris
It’s no secret that the Kia Quorris is the company’s most expensive car. Its predecessor was the Kia Opirus sedan, production of which ended in 2010 and was exclusively at South Korean facilities.
The Kia Quoris is assembled in Kaliningrad to this day.
Another popular model among domestic car enthusiasts, the Kia Optima, appeared on the Russian market in 2012, and it was at the same time began its serial production at “Avtotor”.
The new generation of the medium-sized Sorento SUV can not boast the same popularity as the previous ones, but there are its fans.
To date, the Sorento is produced at the Kaliningrad plant. For some time assembly was carried out at Izh-Avto.
It is worth noting that Sorento SUVs for the European market are made at the facilities of Turkey and Slovakia.
The Russian version of the Kia Soul boasts a unique design. Thanks to this, the car of domestic assembly significantly differs from its foreign counterparts.
No one will be surprised that the car is produced at Avtotor.
In addition, more for local markets, the model is assembled in Kazakhstan, China and South Korea.
Video: the process of assembling Kia cars
The crossover Kia Sportage gained high popularity due to its design and fantastic driving qualities. The first generation of the car was assembled in Germany. Subsequent modifications are made in Russia and Slovakia.
Until recently, the Kia Venga, was the only Kia model that was not assembled in Russia. But, in 2015, the situation was corrected, because the company “Avtotor” has committed itself, every year to fill the domestic market with quality cars.
Cars of the company Kia are among the most popular, both in the world and in the domestic market.
The range of models is really impressive, and it seems that the Korean concern has set itself the task of inserting at least one representative in each class of cars.