Interesting Facts about Kia Motors


Kia Motors is the second-largest South Korean automaker known globally for its innovative and reliable vehicles. The company has a rich history and an impressive track record that goes beyond what meets the eye. In this post, we’re diving into some of the most intriguing and lesser-known facts about this automotive giant.

From its humble beginnings as a bicycle manufacturer to becoming a trendsetter in the global car industry, Kia’s story is one of innovation, ambition, and a deep connection with its audience.

Kia started as a bicycle manufacturer

A bicycle parked at a bicycle stand of the 'fixed bollard' type

Kia’s journey into the transportation industry began in 1944 under the name Kyungsung Precision Industry, focusing on steel tubing and bicycle parts. By 1951, they had produced Korea’s first domestic bicycle, Samchully, laying the foundation for their eventual entry into motor vehicles. This initial period highlights Kia’s humble beginnings and adaptation skills in a rapidly evolving industrial landscape.

Kia entered the automotive industry in the 1970s

After starting with bicycles, Kia expanded into the automotive sector by launching its line of cars and trucks in the 1970s. This move was a significant leap for Kia, marking its transition from a manufacturer of lightweight transportation to a major player in the global automotive industry. The expansion into car manufacturing also played a vital role in Korea’s post-war industrial boom, showcasing Kia’s innovative approach and ambition.

Kia’s name has East Asian origins

The brand name ‘Kia’ originates from the Sino-Korean characters ‘Ki’ (to come out) and ‘A’ (East or Asia), which translates to “one that comes out of the east.” This reflects the company’s Asian heritage and its vision of emerging onto the global stage. The name symbolizes Kia’s journey from a local player to an internationally recognized automotive brand.

Kia manufactures military vehicles

In the 1970s, the South Korean government commissioned Kia to produce vehicles for the military, a task that culminated in the production of military-grade cars by 1976. Today, Kia continues to design and manufacture vehicles like the Kaiser Jeep M7-15-type. The company is the only government-commissioned maker of military vehicles in their country.

Hyundai acquired Kia in 1998

Kia faced a sharp decline in sales in the late 1990s, partly due to the Asian financial crisis of 1997. As a result, the company lost most of its assets and independence and was forced to join hands with another South Korean company, Hyundai. In 1998, Hyundai acquired Kia, and these two South Korean automobile manufacturing companies started operating under the name Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.

Hyundai’s acquisition of Kia was a strategic move that significantly impacted both companies. This partnership allowed Kia to leverage Hyundai’s resources and expertise, propelling its growth and expansion in international markets. It represents a pivotal moment in Kia’s history, transforming it from a national brand to a global automotive contender.

Kia operates the world’s largest car assembly factory

Kia Motors' South Korean factory

Kia’s manufacturing capabilities are most evident in its Hwasung factory, known as the world’s largest car assembly plant. This facility’s ability to produce 114 cars per hour demonstrates Kia’s significant role in the automotive industry in terms of production volume, technological advancement, and operational efficiency.

Kia pioneered in electric vehicle innovation

The launch of the Soul EV in 2015 marked Kia’s entry into the electric vehicle market, signaling its commitment to sustainable and innovative mobility solutions. This foray into electric vehicles was just the beginning, with plans for introducing hydrogen fuel cell cars by 2027, highlighting Kia’s dedication to leading the charge in environmentally friendly automotive technology.

Kia models have received top safety awards

Kia’s attention to safety is evident through the numerous safety awards its models have received. Vehicles like the Telluride, K5, Stinger, and EV6, honored with IIHS Top Safety PICK+ awards, underscore Kia’s commitment to ensuring the safety and reliability of its vehicles. These awards are a testament to Kia’s ongoing efforts to prioritize the well-being of its customers through advanced safety features.

Kia’s hamster commercials became iconic

The Kia Soul gained widespread recognition, partly thanks to its memorable hamster commercials. These ads not only boosted the model’s popularity but also helped establish a unique and fun identity for the brand. This creative marketing approach exemplified Kia’s ability to connect with consumers through engaging and out-of-the-box advertising strategies.

Kia appeals to a diverse consumer base in the U.S.

Kia’s broad appeal in the U.S. is reflected in its diverse customer base, with a significant percentage of its owners being young, male, and from various ethnic backgrounds. This demographic diversity highlights Kia’s ability to cater to a wide range of consumers, with models appealing to different lifestyles, from young millennials to families.

Kia focuses on inspirational movement

Kia’s slogan, “Movement that inspires,” aligns with their core values: spirited, human-driven, and challenger. This reflects their commitment to offering customers unique experiences, incorporating technological innovation and emotional connection in their designs and marketing strategies.

Kia has a strong focus on the European market

Since 2005, Kia has been actively focusing on expanding its presence in the European market. They even hired renowned German car designer Peter Schreyer, known for his work on the Audi TT and Volkswagen models, to lead this initiative. This move indicates Kia’s strategic approach to design and marketing, aimed at catering to diverse global tastes and preferences.

Kia cars are known for their “tiger nose” grille

Kia Rio Sedan

Kia cars come with a “tiger nose” grille, which is made to give a recognizable and strong face to the car. Credit that to Peter Schreyer, the German car designer who was hired by Kia in 2007 as the new Chief Design Officer.

Kia’s design philosophy embraces opposites

Kia’s new design philosophy, “Opposites United,” is based on the principles of contrast and disruption. This approach is evident in the bold, contemporary design of models like the Kia Sportage, which combines modern aesthetics with natural inspiration. It reflects Kia’s endeavor to create vehicles that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing and innovative.

Kia has been a recipient of numerous global awards

Over the years, Kia has been recognized with various global awards for its achievements in fuel efficiency, manufacturing, engineering, and safety. Notably, it was acknowledged as the “highest-ranked mass-market brand” in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study for four consecutive years and earned the title of “Best Global Brand” for six straight years. These awards signify Kia’s excellence in multiple areas of the automotive industry.

Kia is Pope Francis-approved

Known for his modest lifestyle, Pope Francis made a significant impression during his visit to the United Arab Emirates by arriving in a Kia Soul. This choice of vehicle highlighted his commitment to humility and simplicity, aligning perfectly with his reputation as the ‘People’s Pope.’ The Kia Soul, a modest yet reliable car, inadvertently became an emblem of the Pope’s approachable and unpretentious nature.

Kia actively sponsors global sports events, and athletes

Emphasizing its commitment to sports and athleticism, Kia is a prominent sponsor of major sports events, including the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Championship, and the NBA. Beyond events, they also support renowned athletes like Rafael Nadal, LeBron James, and Michele Wie. This involvement demonstrates Kia’s dedication to energizing sports fans and contributing to the global sports community.

Kia Models are named after something famous

Lots of Kia models are named after geographical objects. For example, Cerato is a Greek word that translates to ‘Peak’; Mohave is a desert in Southwest of the United States of America, and Sorento is a city of Italy.

There’s a reason behind Kia Ceed’s name

The Ceed is Kia’s first-ever European-designed car that was built precisely according to European quality standards. Kia’s intent was to sell and manufacture the vehicle exclusively in Europe. The car’s name also corresponds to the purpose for which it was built. Ceed is the abbreviation for the “Community of Europe and European Design.”

In the name, ‘CE’ stands for ‘European Community or Community of Europe’ while ‘ED’ is an abbreviation for ‘European Design’.

Kia changed their logo and brand slogan

Kia logo from 1994 to 2021

In a move to refresh its brand identity, Kia has revamped its iconic red oval logo, transitioning to a sleek and modern ‘KIΛ’ design. This new logo symbolizes confidence and ambition, representing a shift towards a new era. Alongside the logo, Kia introduced its new slogan, ‘Movement that Inspires,’ further accentuating its forward-thinking vision. Interestingly, Kia maintains a unique South Korean logo featuring a stylized ‘K.’

Kia is successful in the Indian market

Kia’s strategic entry into the Indian market has been met with remarkable success, swiftly capturing a significant market share. Their customer-centric approach and the offering of high-quality vehicles at affordable prices resonate particularly well with young consumers. The brand’s debut model quickly rose to bestseller status within just ten months, reflecting the growing popularity of Kia cars in India. Additionally, the recommendation of Kia car insurance in India emphasizes the importance of safety and reliability on the roads.

Kia was inspired by Maserati

Who doesn’t love the luxurious cars manufactured by the Italian company Maserati!? Kia’s Stinger is inspired by the 1970s GTs such as the Maserati Ghibli. The Stinger is a rear-wheel-drive sedan that features a 272kW 3.3-liter turbocharged V6 engine – it claims to reach 0 to 100 km/h in less than five seconds only.

Kia partnered with Twentieth Century Fox in 2016

In 2016, Kia created the Sorento X-car in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox. It was for the promotion of “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” The following year, the car was displayed at Melbourne Park during the Australian Open.

Final Words

As we wrap up our fun facts about Kia, it’s clear that this automotive powerhouse is more than just a car manufacturer. From its early days producing bicycles to sponsoring world-renowned sports events and athletes, Kia has consistently demonstrated innovation, commitment to social causes, and an ability to adapt to market changes. The story of Kia is one of resilience, forward-thinking, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Whether you’re a car enthusiast, a Kia owner, or simply curious about the brand, we hope these insights have provided a deeper appreciation for the diverse and dynamic world of Kia.

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