History of Kia
History of Kia
Kia cars in LaGrange are known for offering great value for money and are equipped with advanced safety and infotainment features. Headquartered in Seoul, Kia is the second-largest South Korean automobile manufacturer. Founded in 1944, Kia was earlier known as Kyungsung Precision Industry. When it was founded, the company had nothing to do with car manufacturing and produced steel tubing and bicycle parts. Kyungsung Precision Industry gave Korea its first domestic bicycle, the Samchully, in 1951. In 1952, the company’s name was changed to Kia Industries. Later, the firm started manufacturing Mazda-licensed trucks and cars and small Honda-certified motorcycles.
In 1973, Kia Industries opened its first integrated automotive assembly plant. The manufacturer produced the small Brisa range of cars till 1981. After the new military dictator Chun Doo-hwan seized power, Kia was forced to exit the passenger car segment. The manufacturer now shifted its focus to the light trucks segment. In 1986, Kia re-entered the automobile industry in partnership with Ford.
Soon, Kia started manufacturing Mazda-derived vehicles for both domestic and international markets. In 1992, Kia Motors America found a niche in the US. Initially, Kia Motors America sold vehicles through four dealerships in Portland. Since then, it has expanded its reach, covering one region at a time. By the end of 1995, there were 100-plus Kia dealerships in the country that sold almost 25,000 cars.
In 1997, Kia was hit by the Asian Financial crisis, forcing the management to declare bankruptcy. In 1998, the manufacturer reached an agreement with Hyundai Motor Company to exchange ownership between both companies. Hyundai Motor Company outbid Ford Motor Company that had owned a part of the company since 1986 to acquire 51 percent of Kia. Since then, Hyundai Motor Company has divested its stake and currently holds around 1/3rd of the brand.
In 2006, the company hired Peter Schreyer as a chief design officer. Schreyer is credited for designing a new corporate grille known as the Tiger Nose. In 2014, the company received global attention when Pope Francis rode in one of its compact cars, the Kia Soul. In 2016, Kia Motor's reliability was ranked number one in the U.S. by JD Power.
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