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Photo: Structurae.com

In a little over 20 years, Kia Motors turned from a relatively unknown underdog car manufacturer into a global market leader. Kia vehicles are extremely popular all over the world, and their vast lineup includes everything from compact hatchbacks and SUVs to minivans and performance sedans.

Kia owners, both stateside and overseas, praise their cars for the affordability, outstanding quality, and simplicity. That last bit is not to say that Kia cars are way too basic and unexciting - in recent years, their tech and features grew to match those of their competitors. Some enthusiasts say that Kia today is what the Japanese car makers were in the 1990s and early 2000s - a manufacturer of affordable, reliable and quality cars for the people.

Of course, Kia might not be like Ferrari or Porsche in terms of its heritage, status, and the "cool factor." Nevertheless, there is still plenty of interesting, little-known gems in Kia's history. In this article, we've compiled a few little known facts about Kia Motors that might just change your opinion on the humble, yet determined Korean manufacturer, according to Hotcars.

1. 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.

2. The Name Translates As "Rising From The East"

As Kia themselves claim, their name is not just a meaningless syllable. It actually consists of two Sino-Korean characters: 起 (ki), which means "to come out" or "to rise," and 亞 (a), which means "East" or "Asia." Hence, the name translates at "Coming from Asia" or "Rising from the East.". Hotcars explained.

3. 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.

4. They Dominate The Korean Market

The term “chaebol” may not be known to many in the U.S., but it’s part of Korean life. It refers to an industrial conglomerate who runs things like a combination of an industry and a mafia family. In South Korea, such a chaebol is made up of Hyundai, Kia, and its various subsidiaries. They not only dominate in cars but also control steel, insurance, and trade.

In short, Kia is part of a huge monopoly that means almost 80% of the vehicles sold in South Korea are either Kia or Hyundai. While that’s led to backlash over their tactics with unions, it also means Kia is key to their nations’ economy, Thethings indicated.

5. So Many Awards in Such a Short Time

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Photo: KIAMotorsCameroun.com

Kia vehicles consistently win the “best quality” awards from J.D. Power. More recently, their Telluride SUV won the “Triple Crown” of automotive awards – the first SUV ever to do so. Triple Crown means winning three coveted awards– the 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year from North American Car of the Year (NACTOY), MotorTrend SUV of the Year, and a Car and Driver 10 Best Award.

Kia has already made 3 consecutive iF Design hat tricks and since 2010 has been awarded a total of 18 iF Awards for its vehicle designs. In addition to this, the company has won several other automotive design & vehicle satisfaction awards from around the world, according to Carspiritpk.

6. 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.

7. 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.”

8. They’ve Dominated India In A Short Time

One thing that maintains Kia’s success is that even their best cars are quite economical. That’s been a critical factor in their swift dominance of India. The company entered India in 2019 with a vast production plant churning out the Seltos. Kia has invested over a billion dollars, and so far, it’s paying off. In just months, the company has already sold 40,000 models and has left even actual Indian manufacturers in the sales dust, Thethings pointed out.

9. 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’.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Kia Is Owned By Hyundai

It might not come as a surprise to some, but it will to those who believed the two Korean manufacturers to be arch-rivals. And while Kia in Hyundai might still compete in a friendly way, they are actually the same company. Kia has been a subsidiary of Hyundai since 1998, and together they are the third-largest car manufacturer in the world, according to Hotcars.
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