Kia Motors Company is a South Korean automobile manufacturer with headquarters in Yangjae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Its president is Chung Eui-sun.
According to Kia Motors, the name "Kia" derives from the Chinese language character ki meaning arise or come up out of or rising up and the a stands for Asia. So Kia is roughly translated as
arise or come up out of Asia or Rising out of Asia.
South Korea's oldest car company, Kia was founded in 1944 as manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycles. In 1952, Kia changed its name from Kyungsung Precision Industry and later
built motorcycles, trucks and cars. Starting in 1986, in partnership with Ford, Kia produced several Mazda derived vehicles for both domestic sales in Korea and imports 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.
Kia's strategy of moving into the US market region by region proved extremely successful and set a model for entering the US market. In less than a decade, Kia surpassed even their most
generous sales expecations to become a significant player in the US auto market.
Kia's bankruptcy in 1997, part of the Asian financial crisis, resulted in 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.
Kia is one of the most improved brands in the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study although it continues to rank below the industry average.
* Avella (was rebadged as the Ford Aspire in North America)
* Brisa (based on the Mazda Familia)
* Concord (based on the Mazda Capella)
* Elan/Vigato/Kia Roadster (based on the Lotus Elan)
* Enterprise (based on the Mazda Sentia)
* Potentia (based on the Mazda Luce)
* Pride (based on the Ford Festiva/Mazda 121)
* Rio (Cinco/RX-V)
* Rio SF/Rio
* Visto (based on the Hyundai Atos/Santro)
* cee'd (which will debut at Mondial de l'Automobile 2006)
* Bongo (based on the Mazda Bongo)
* Besta (based on the Mazda Bongo)
* Topic (based on the Mazda Bongo)
* Towner (based on the Daihatsu Hi-Jet)
* Rocsta R2
* Bongo-Frontier/K Series
* Carens/Carens II/X-Trek (2nd generation)
* Carens/Rondo (3rd generation)
* Carnival/Carnival II/Sedona
* Carnival/Sedona (2nd generation (SWB))
* Grand Carnival/Sedona (2nd generation (LWB))
* Joice/Carstar (concept by Mitsubishi Motors, design by Hyundai Motor Company, manufacturing by Kia Motors)
* Pregio/Bongo III
* K Series/Bongo III
* Kia KB (based on the Hino Truck)
* Kia Trade
* Kia Boxer (based on the Mazda Boxer)
* Kia AM Truck (based on the Hino Truck)
* Kia AM Bus (based on the Hino Blueribbon RU)
* Kia Granbird (Asia Motors)
* Kia Titan (based on the Mazda Titan)
* Kia Super-Titan (based on the Mazda Titan)
* Kia Jumbo-Titan (based on the Mazda Titan)
* Kia Granto (based on the Hino Super Dolphin Profia)
* Kia Combi (based on the Mazda Parkway)
* kia Cosmos (based on the Hino Rainbow RJ)
* Kia Pamax (based on the Hyundai Mighty II)
* Kia Rhino (based on the Hino Ranger)
* Kia Granbird
* Kia Power-Combi (based on the Mazda Parkway)
* Kia New Cosmos (based on the Hino Rainbow RJ)
* Kia Frontier (1.4ton/2.5ton)