Interesting Facts about Kia Motors


Kia Motors is the second-largest South Korean automaker that is also serving many parts across the globe. It is a subsidiary of Hyundai, the country’s leading automaker that is also the fourth largest in the world. Here are some more interesting facts about Kia that you might not know before reading this article:


Kia is Considered as South Korea’s Oldest and Most Durable Car Manufacturing Company

Kia Motors was founded on December 11, 1944, when Korea was still under Japanese rule during the Second World War. They started their career by manufacturing personal vehicles, mainly motorcycles and bicycles. Later in the 70s, Kia launched its very own line of cars and trucks.


Kia is Known to Be Giving More Attention to The Automobile Market in Europe

Kia has had a strong focus on the European market since 2005. In order to strengthen its chances of future growth in the continent, it hired German car designer Peter Schreyer whose one of the famous creations is the Audi TT. Kia is also one of the fastest growing companies in the UK alone.


Kia’s Selling Power

Kia sold 2.7 million vehicles in 2012 and 2.75 million the following year, making it one of South Korea’s biggest car brands.


Kia Has Been Manufacturing and Providing Military-Grade Vehicles to The South Korean Army Since 1976, and The Defense Arm Makes A Total of Six Military Vehicles

Kia was designated by the South Korean government as the only maker of military vehicles. Presently, the company is creating and designing a Kaiser Jeep M7-15-type vehicle.


‘Kia’ From Kia Motors is Translated To ‘Rising Out of Asia’ in Sino-Korean Language

The name “Kia” is originated from the Sino-Korean characters ‘Ki’ (“to come out”) and ‘a’ (“(East) Asia”). Hence the name ‘Kia’ can be translated to ‘one, that comes out of the east’.

Kia Closely Cooperated With the Japanese Manufacturer Mazda Way Back in the mid-60s

A South-Korean company Kia cooperated with the Japanese company Mazda for the sake of a mutually beneficial partnership. It resulted in Kia’s favor – they successfully developed their own engine in the early 1970s. And then 2 years later, Kia manufactured first ever car of their own design known as Kia Brisa, an exact copy of the Mazda 1300.

The first shipment of Kia Brisa was exported to Qatar.


The Slogan of This Automobile Company is “The Power to Surprise”

The slogan definitely helps Kia Motors in promoting its brand globally. The company aims to provide a unique experience for its customers as well as to its core beliefs: “spirited,” “human-driven” and “challenger.”

Kia Failed Victim to The Financial Crisis in 1988 That Caused Them A Lot

Kia had to face a sharp decline in sales in 1998 that caused a financial crisis. 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 1999, Hyundai acquired Kia and these two South Korean automobile manufacturing companies started operating under the name of ‘Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.’

Recommended article: Interesting Facts about Hyundai


The ‘Tiger Nose’ Grille Was Made to Give A Recognizable and Strong Face to The Car

Credit that to Peter Schreyer (whom we mentioned earlier), the German car designer who was hired by Kia in 2007 as the new Chief Design Officer.


The Total Assets of Kia Motors Increased Drastically by More Than 10 Trillion Korean Won from The Year 2009 To the Year 2013

As of 2013, Kia’s total assets amount to US$35.6 billion.

Kia Operates in All Continents Except One

Kia has its production plants in all continents, except Australia.

The Secret Behind Kia Ceed’s Name

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

Just Like Hyundai, Kia Models Are Also 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.

Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage is indeed one of the best and most popular SUVs. The first Sportage was released back in 1994. It was based on the Mazda Bongo Chassis. In the beginning, Kia Sportage was manufactured only at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück, Germany. Later, the company started producing its subsequent generations in Korea, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Slovakia.

Kia Owns Over 500 Different Awards in Different Countries

Kia has been awarded for hundreds of times in different countries because of its high-quality automobiles. In 2013, the Kia Quoris received ‘Car of the Year’ award in the UAE. The Kia Optima was ‘Car of the Year’ in the USA in 2012.

Kia is Inspired by Maserati

Who doesn’t love the luxurious cars manufactured by this Italian company, Maserati!? Kia’s Stinger is inspired by the 1970’s GTs such as the Maserati Ghibli. The Stinger is a rear-wheel-drive sedan that features a 272kW 3.3liter turbocharged V6 engine – it is claimed 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.

Some more facts:

  • Kia’s headquarter is in Seoul, South Korea and is just beside The Hyundai Motor Company
  • Kia Sportage Owns the Title of Being the first Korean car to be featured and competing in the Paris-Dakar Rally.
  • Kia Sportage makes up a fifth of Kia’s total sales with over 3,000,000 units sold worldwide.
  • Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing plant manufactures a million cars annually, which amounts to about 114 cars per hour. This means 2 cars per minute!
  • Before 1974, Kia was mainly producing lorries, and various versions of three-wheeler pick up truck that had a funky design.
  • Many large companies tried to acquire Kia when they were gone bankrupt in 1997. Korea’s biggest electronic giant, Samsung, was also one of those companies that wanted to buy Kia. But as mentioned above, the deal was closed by another bidder, Hyundai.

Thinking of getting yourself a Kia? Know more about this Korean automobile manufacturing company and Hyundai in this excellent book “Hyundai and Kia Motors: The Early Years and Product Development” by Donald G Sotherton.


Kia is an Asian Car Brand That is Sold in The Us

Kia is one of the leading Asian car brands in the United States, based on sales. However, Kia’s sales decreased by 0.8% in March 2016 compared to the same period the preceding year. The Sorento was the top-selling Kia car in the US in 2018.


Hyundai acquired rival Kia in 1998, a year after suffering an upset due to over-expansion as well as the Asian economic crisis.