History of Kia

Kia Motors or Kia Motors Corporation is the second-largest South Korean auto manufacturer. Its headquarters are in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and its annual sales exceeded 3.3 million units in the year 2015. Its minority owner is Hyundai, whose stake in the company accounts for 33.8 percent with a value of more than 6 billion dollars.

Early History

The company was founded in December 1944 when it went by the name of Kyungsung Precision Industry. Its main business at the time was to manufacture steel tubing as well as parts for bicycles. It was the first company to produce a bicycle indigenously in Korea. The company changed its name in 1952 to Kia Industries. What does Kia stand for? It stands for KI or “To Rise From” and A or Asia. In other words, it stands for to rise from Asia.

Motorcycles and Trucks

In 1957, the company started producing small-sized motorcycles as well as trucks licensed to. Mazda. In 1973, Kia Industries opened its Sohari Plant. Four years later, it began manufacturing small-sized Brisa cars, but soon it had to stop its manufacturing activities.

Kia Industries stopped focusing on passenger cars and instead concentrated on making small trucks. At about this time, it also started to make cars under license from Fiat and Peugeot. Almost 100,000 such cars were manufactured in 1982.

Partnering with Ford Motors

Next, the company partnered with Ford Motor Company and made vehicles that were derivatives of Mazda cars. Their models included the Kia Pride and the Avella. The former was a derivative of Mazda.

Entry into America

In 1992, the company opened in America as Kia Motors America and sold its first vehicles in the country. The company has since expanded in America with more than 100 dealers across 30 states.


In 1997, Kia went bankrupt. A year later, it agreed to join hands with Hyundai Motor Company, and today, Hyundai is a 33 percent owner in the company.

European Markets

From 2005 onwards, Kia Motors has shifted focus to the European market and hired Peter Schreyer as its chief designer in 2006. In 2014, Pope Francis rode in a Kia vehicle (the Kia Soul) when he was on a five-day tour of South Korea. In 2016, the company achieved top ranking in the US for model dependability and was the first carmaker (non-luxury) since 1989 to earn this accolade.

Now that you know the history of Kia, go ahead and visit the Kia of LaGrange dealership in LaGrange, GA, serving the cities of Columbus, Hogansville, and Manchester. You can test drive and buy any Kia vehicle of your liking!

Source: Kia