Driven by a dramatic design-led transformation, Kia continues to advance its position in the United States by producing, selling and standing by top-quality, affordable vehicles. New vehicle designs, cutting edge technology and a strong commitment to overall quality have brought Kia to the forefront of the auto industry.
Part of Kia’s quality mission is to enhance the objective measures of quality, but to develop the more subjective ideas of quality as well. It began when German born designer Peter Schreyer came onboard as Chief Design Officer in 2006. Schreyer had previously served as design director at Audi. One of his first initiatives was to give Kia a new, distinctive face through a front end grille design that has come to be known as “tiger nose” or “tiger grille.” Schreyer’s creative, yet simple signature designs have helped Kia send a message that Kia products stand for quality.
“In the past to buy a Kia was to make a very rational decision. I want to create the situation where people see a Kia and want one firstly because of the way it looks, and then they discover that in addition to its great design it’s also attractively priced and has a great warranty,” said Schreyer in a March 2010 interview at the Geneva International Motor Show. “I want to give Kia global appeal, and I want that appeal to be about design above all else.”
Kia’s new design innovations can be seen in recently launched models such as the Soul, Forte, redesigned Sportage and Optima. These models continue to attract more affluent customers to the Kia brand through a combination of sleek styling and advanced technology.
Showcasing its commitment to the U.S. market, Kia recently opened a $1 billion state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia. As Kia’s first-ever North American automobile manufacturing plant, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) is capable of producing 300,000 cars annually for both U.S. and global markets. The 2011 Sorento was the first car manufactured at the new plant.
The overall quality of the Kia brand has been consistently improved and consumers and the industry at large have taken notice, even despite a challenging economic climate. ALG, in its Spring 2010 Perceived Quality Study, showed that Kia’s Perceived Quality Score (PQS) had risen 10 percent since 2009, the largest advance of any mainstream manufacturer it covered. As a result, Kia sold more than 300,000 cars in 2009 for just the second time in company history. More than 40,000 vehicles were sold in August of 2009 to establish an all-time monthly sales record.
With such a commitment to vehicle quality, Kia is able to stand behind its products. Kia offers an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program. The program includes a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty, a five-year or 100,000-mile limited anti-perforation warranty and a five-year 60,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance plan. Kia owners rest easy with the peace of mind that comes from extended protection.
Technological advances such as Kia UVO have catapulted the brand beyond many of even the most recognized and luxurious auto brands. Developed by Kia and Microsoft, UVO, short for “your voice”, allows for in-vehicle voice-activated hands free access to answer and place phone calls, receive and send text messages and listen to customized music. UVO works with most phones and music players making it both a safe and efficient way of enjoying your favorite technologies.
“Kia Motors has come a long way in a very short time, and our global commitment to world-class design and advanced technologies has delivered a wave of new products that redefine the Kia value story and are bringing more customers to our showrooms every day,” said B.M. Ahn, Group President and CEO, Kia Motors America and KMMG in a press release.
Given Kia’s fast growth in such a short time and the company’s continuous commitment to quality, the future is filled with promise. Kia will continue to keep the auto industry on its toes wondering what they will come up with next.