Kia Motors America Announces 14th Year of Increased Market Share


Company Reaches Milestones in 2008; Builds on Brand Momentum, New Products

  • Pre-production Souls arrive at U.S. Kia retailers to ready consumers for a new kind of Kia
  • Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) ramps up for on-target start of production
  • DETROIT, Mich., January 11, 2009 Arriving at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Kia Motors America (KMA) realizes its 15th year of auto sales in North America, 14 consecutive years of increased market share and unveils to auto show attendees the Soulster, an open-air concept based on the Soul, and the Borrego Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, initially showcased at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.

    Kia Motors is continuing to grow and expand in the U.S. despite current economic conditions said B.M. Ahn, group president and CEO, KMA and KMMG. With the upcoming launch of the Soul and other fuel-efficient vehicles, we will appeal to consumers looking for quality, value-laden vehicles with an industry-leading warranty.

    KMA is poised to continue its momentum in 2009 with its expansive and dynamic product line and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value and safety and remains well positioned with the following milestones achieved in 2008:

    • Sales: U.S. automotive industry sales experienced a significant decline in 2008, though Kia achieved additional market share for a 14th consecutive year in the U.S. KMA sales in 2008 were led by Rio, Optima and Rondo passenger cars, all posting more than 9-percent increases. With rising consumer awareness, through emotion-stirring design as showcased in concept vehicles like the KOUP, Soul Burner, Kue, Soulster and KND-4, KMAs traction in the U.S. continues to capture and hold.
    • Accolades: Select Kia vehicles recently have been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) Green Vehicle Guide and have earned a the SmartWay certification mark. The guide gives environmental scores for cars and trucks based on emission levels and fuel economy values. The best environmental performers receive the SmartWay designation, which means the vehicle scores well on both Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas, according to the EPA.
      Kia Motors quality is recognized in an industry-leading reliability study, entering the top 10 for the first time and making the most improvement of any OEM (jumping 12 slots to #10 overall). Other accolades in 2008 include:

      • Borrego selected as Best Kept Secret in Editors Choice Awards
      • Amanti topped Strategic Vision Total Value Index and SmartGreenIndex SM
      • Sorento awarded top ranking in 2008 AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Awards
      • Sedona named a Best Buy by Consumers Digest
      • Rondo awarded Best Buy award by Consumer Guide for midsize cars
      • Rio and Sedona awarded Recommended awards by Consumer Guide Automotive
      • has been a four-time winner of the J.D. Power and Associates Manufacturer Web site Evaluation Study (MWES) Award
      • Sorento received top ranking in AutoPacific 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards
      • Rio/Rio5 named to Top 10 Best Small Cars list
      • Sedona named to Top 10 Best Value list
      • Seven Kia models named a Best Bet by The Car Book 2008
      • Rondo named to Parents Magazine and Best Family Cars 2008 list
    • Kia Soul: With its U.S. debut at the 2008 LAAS, the Souls bold and edgy design is indicative of the new Kia Motors design theme and offers more package and styling combinations than any previous Kia vehicle. As an investment to the brand and commitment to dealers, KMA ordered and shipped a pre production Soul to nearly every Kia Motors retailer in the U.S. to show consumers everywhere how the brand is evolving with its next vehicle one that is priced aggressively in the teens.

    • Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG): Construction of Kias first U.S. manufacturing plant is progressing on schedule. The plant, a $1 billion state-of-the-art facility, is located in West Point, Georgia and has capacity to produce 300,000 vehicles for North America and other global markets. The plant will provide 2,500 jobs with up to 7,500 jobs generated through related suppliers in Georgia and surrounding communities and currently employs 370 team members.

    • Marketing: Enhancements to Kia Motors brand image continue to be far-reaching, including partnering with to increase online presence to car shoppers; partnering with imeem, a leading social music site, to be the first advertiser to use its new imeem for Android social music application for the Android mobile platform. To further appeal to Gen-Y audiences with a purpose in every connection, KMA created a collection of post cards or Soul Cards” instead of traditional auto show brochures to explore different aspects of Souls personality, such as its stylishness, sex appeal and sportiness. To learn the latest information and build awareness for the Soul, the cards feature a new mobile technology using camera phones and barcodes to link to the Soul’s mobile microsite. KMA also has been bringing the Soul directly to this customer in ways that tie to their personal passions. An example is the Vans Warped Tour, an indy-rock concert series that connected Kia Motors to young music fans. KMA was the Exclusive Automotive Partner of the concert series in 2008 and plans to partner again in 2009.

    • Official Automotive Partner of the NBA: The official announcement of KMAs relationship with the NBA was first made public at a press conference in New York in January 2008 and at NAIAS one year ago during a press conference, announcing its Official Automotive Partner designation. Prior to the NBA league partnership KMA put in place 16 individual team partnerships to focus on market-specific community relations programming. These individual community relations efforts create programs that benefit residents, lend support to the underprivileged and promote youth education. This past season, KMA and select teams worked together to promote various local community programs enabling hundreds of individuals of all ages to take part in local initiatives, while supporting their respective communities. The partnership between KMA and the 16 NBA teams will continue to enable future programs in conjunction with the NBA team partners in 2009.

    2009 Product Line

    Kia Motors America offers a dynamic and diverse product line of 11 vehicles to meet the needs of all lifestyles. The 2009 vehicle line features the functional Rondo CUV and award-winning Sedona minivan along with a wide variety of popular passenger cars, including the refined Amanti full size sedan, purposeful Optima mid size sedan, versatile and compact Spectra and Spectra5, and sporty yet fuel efficient Rio and Rio5 subcompacts. The vehicle line also features the all-new and affordably luxurious Borrego, rugged Sorento and value-packed Sportage SUVs. The Soul will further complement the lineup when it arrives in dealerships this spring.

    About Kia Motors America

    Kia Motors America (KMA) is the sales, marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 640 dealers throughout the United States. Kia Motors subscribes to a philosophy of building high value, high quality, safe and dynamic vehicles. Kia Motors prides itself on producing vehicles that are exciting and enabling and evoke the Kia tagline The Power to Surprise.

    Kia Motors America is the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA. Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its Web site For media information, including photography, visit

    1 Starting at MSRP excludes freight, taxes, title, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by retailer.

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