Kia Motors America Unveils Tricked-Out Optima Hybrid and Soul Inspired by Sports Ambassadors Blake Griffin and Michelle Wie at 2011 SEMA Show


Kia Collaborates with West Coast Customs for First Time to Put a Sporty Twist on Show Cars

  • Basketball-themed Optima Hybrid features hardwood floor and pop-up basketball hoop

  • Michelle Wie’s personal artwork showcased inside-and-out of a golf-themed Soul
  • LAS VEGAS, November 1, 2011 – Kia Motors America (KMA) takes the field at the 2011 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show with a pair of outrageous sports-themed vehicles built by the world famous West Coast Customs (WCC) shop in Corona, Calif. Working together, KMA and WCC have created two one-of-a-kind show cars Optima Hybrid and Soul inspired by KMA’s official ambassadors and their respective sports: basketball all-star Blake Griffin and Michelle Wie of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Following the SEMA Show, television audiences will have a front row seat for the Kia builds on an upcoming episode of Inside West Customs on VELOCITY.

    “The SEMA Show is the epicenter of vehicle customization, and the eye-catching Optima Hybrid and funky Soul created by West Coast Customs are the latest way we’re showcasing Kia’s high-profile partnerships with two of the most talented and recognizable young athletes in the world,” said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing communications, KMA. “Our design-led transformation has catapulted the Kia brand to new levels of awareness, and these one-of-a-kind creations inspired by Blake Griffin and Michelle Wie will allow consumers to see our products in new, fun and interactive ways.”

    “Slam Dunk” Blake Griffin Optima Hybrid
    The critically acclaimed Optima is permanently linked with basketball superstar Blake Griffin after his memorable leap over the popular midsize sedan to win the All-Star Slam Dunk competition earlier this year. Griffin will appear in several new TV spots for Kia over the next few months to highlight the Optima’s class-leading horsepower1, cutting-edge technology and modern amenities. And to extend Kia’s partnership with Griffin and association with the sport of basketball, Kia enlisted WCC to add some hardwood flair to Kia’s first-ever hybrid in the U.S., which delivers class-leading fuel economy of up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway2.

    Basketball-themed Blake Griffin Optima Hybrid makes debut at SEMA

    From a distance, the WCC Optima Hybrid’s inspiration is immediately apparent with its sunset and cinnamon pearl paint scheme fading to “ketchme” copper pearl to create a realistic basketball-textured appearance with Blake Griffin’s personal logo proudly displayed on the hood. A custom-painted grille and color-matched outside mirrors and door handles further the Slam Dunk Optima Hybrid’s athletic profile while its 20-inch Niche matte black powder coated wheels, Continental® extreme contact tires and tinted tail and marker lights accentuate its competitive fire.

    Inside, hoop fans will find basketball court flooring in the front and rear wells and custom Roadwire Kings Ranch leather seats with suede inserts, white contrast stitching and Blake Griffin’s autograph embroidered in the front headrests. The combination of leather and suede continues on the door panel inserts, headliner and sun visors.

    “At Kia, we are big fans of the game of basketball and extremely proud of our ongoing relationship with one of the most exciting players in the world. The Optima Hybrid inspired by Blake Griffin embodies his fierce competitive nature on the court as well as his refined sense of style,” said Sprague.

    For off-the-court entertainment, flat-screen TVs are mounted in the back of the front headrests and connected to a Microsoft®3 X-Box video game console and a “Pop-A-Shot” basketball hoop and plexiglass backboard extends out of the trunk. WCC also fabricated custom leather-finished enclosures in the rear decklid to house two eight-inch Diamond Audio speakers and amplifiers.

    “Hole-In-One” Michelle Wie Soul
    Michelle Wie has been Kia Motors’ official golf ambassador and spokesperson since early 2010, and in addition to appearing in advertisements for Kia she also can be seen driving a Soul in northern California while attending classes at Stanford University. Outside of golf, Wie is an avid artist and the custom-embroidered Nike® golf bags she uses for tournament play feature her original artwork.

    Michelle Wie’s personal artwork showcased in custom golf-themed Kia Soul

    With Wie’s fanciful artwork and the significantly refreshed 2012 Soul as their starting point, WCC ensured the Hole-In-One Soul stands out from the crowd with a striking “So Blue” and white House of Kolor custom paint scheme featuring many of the same drawings and characters found on Wie’s golf bags, and also outfitted the show car with hand-painted 20-inch Niche five-spoke wheels. Inside, Wie’s artwork and personal logo are embroidered into the Roadwire “Snow White” leather seats with pink suede inserts, and a baby blue painted dash and pink suede headliner with white diamond stitching complete the whimsical interior design.

    The Wie-inspired Soul will instantly transport onlookers from the gallery to the golf course with its artificial grass flooring, and the rear cargo is a virtual driving range with a 26-inch LED Samsung TV monitor fabricated into the rear hatch and a Microsoft® X-Box video game console and Kinect system for a round of golf out of the back of the funky urban passenger vehicle. Two of Wie’s tournament-used golf bags are mounted behind the TV and conceal eight-inch Diamond Audio speakers, a subwoofer and amplifiers.

    “Michelle Wie is an amazing talent with an incredible eye for design, and West Coast Customs has taken her artwork and developed a truly one-of-a-kind vehicle that captures her youthful spirit and imagination,” said Sprague.

    Design-Led Transformation and Product Line
    Kia Motors has undergone a dramatic, design-led transformation, which has been delivering dynamically styled vehicles in several important segments at exactly the right time, contributing to the brand’s continued gains in U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and brand growth through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technology. Kia’s commitment to the U.S. market is represented by its U.S.-based manufacturing facilities in West Point, Georgia KMMG which is responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 plant and supplier jobs and added the critically-acclaimed Optima midsize sedan4 to its production line in September. Kia’s model year 2012 vehicle line includes the Sorento CUV, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Optima Hybrid, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, all-new Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.

    About Kia Motors America
    Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 745 dealers throughout the United States. In 2010, KMA recorded its best-ever U.S. sales and 16th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share.

    Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technologies. Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle lineup is available at its website For media information, including photography, visit

    1 Based on comparison of 2011 and available 2012 hybrid midsize sedans as of October 2011.
    2 EPA fuel economy estimates are 35/40 MPG (city/highway). Actual mileage may vary.
    3 Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
    4 Optima Hybrid will not be built at KMMG.

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