Table of contents:
- The beginning of the brand's history and the political situation in the country - 1940-1950s
- Strengthening positions in your own country and in the world market
- Development of the company and model range - 1970-1990s
- Further development of the company 1990-present
2023 Author: Charles Youmans | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-20 18:41
KIA Motors is one of the largest and oldest companies in Korea. The manufacturer established its headquarters in Seoul. At the moment, the brand is owned by Hyundai. Hyundai-KIA Automotive Group ranks fifth among all manufacturers. According to the results of the assessment, the company produces more than 1.4 million copies of cars per year. The manufacturer owns more than 14 production sites in eight countries.
The beginning of the brand's history and the political situation in the country - 1940-1950s
In its original form, the company appeared in its full name - Kyungsung Precision Industry. The history of KIA begins on May 15, 1944. The opening of the company happened just on the eve of the start of a serious war between North and South Korea. At the beginning of the journey, the main facilities located in Yangdeungpo were engaged in the production of industrial goods, bicycles, and spare parts. A little later, the management managed to expand the capabilities and organize the development and production of cars - trucks and cars.
Particular attention was paid to the production of bicycles. The first two-wheeler rolled off the assembly line in 1946. At that time, there was a shortage of personal transport in Korea, so the emergence of personal production was profitable. A little later, the surplus began to be exported. Over time, it becomes clear that the niche is absolutely free and the Korean brand is releasing Samcholli-ho.
Despite the demand for the products, the company's business was not going so smoothly. The outbreak of the war had a negative impact on the company's plans. As a result, the main facilities moved to Busan, where they continued to assemble bicycles in relative safety. Of course, we are not talking about a huge automated enterprise, but about handicraft production methods. Despite this, the company was considered to be at the forefront, as it significantly outperformed the rest. Korea at the time was a poor and backward country.
In 1952, the company was renamed KIA Industrial Company. The abbreviated name KIA was given to one of the models of the produced bicycle. At the same time, South Korea's economic policy and industry was in decline. The recovery was slow. Park Chung Hee, who was at the helm of the state, was absorbed in the idea of economic recovery. The ambitions extended to the designated concern. The automaker received government support. The situation was overshadowed by the only condition that only one company would receive subsidies. KIAs were chosen as the leading edge for the construction of trucks and industrial products such as machine tools.
In 1955, KIA products became incredibly popular, which led to the emergence of new production sites. In addition, the management decides to expand the number of areas of activity and connects all reserves to create motor technology. So, in the 57th year, a motor scooter appears, and four years later a three-wheeled motorcycle.
Strengthening positions in your own country and in the world market
In 1965, it becomes possible to send products manufactured by that time to Western markets. The first South Korean three-wheeled trucks and other vehicles were met in North America. From 1967 to 1971, the company expanded its own production of parts and assemblies. The developments of other countries were used as a theoretical basis. In 1970, one can note the complete elimination of dependence on imported suppliers. Own technologies appear, which make the company noticeable in the world market.
In 1971, KIA presents the Titan and Boxer trucks. The first cars entered the life of Koreans so tightly that over time, all trucks began to be called "Titans". The extraordinary popularity was provided by all-wheel drive, with a maximum load of 3, 5-4, 5 tons. It was possible to buy KIA with 2, 7 and 3, 6-liter engines, which were adjacent to a mechanical five-stage.
The further fate of the company is influenced by cooperation with the Japanese brand Mazda. In the 71st year, the name was changed to KIA Corporation and an active expansion of the range began. A number of KIAs are being replenished with passenger cars, the development of which has been going on since the 1960s. True, the first full-fledged car could be produced only in 1974. At that time, the government introduced a new long-term development plan for the Korean auto industry. According to him, Kia and Hyundai should work in parallel, not competing with each other. They took different positions, as the prices of cars were set according to the size of the engine.
In 1972, the company was issued a license to build a car, which led to the creation of the first car engine. Two years later, a whole series production was established in Sohari. The first car was the KIA Brisa. On closer examination, it can be noted that the new KIA is as close as possible to the Mazda 1300. Indeed, the Korean car was created with the support of the Japanese automobile concern. The similarity is not limited only to the appearance, but also to the design features. The novelty got on a 4-cylinder engine with 985 "cubes", which produced 55-62 hp. and developed a top speed of 140 km / h. A little later, the model switched to a modern powerful 72 hp engine. In 1975, several copies went to Qatar.
Development of the company and model range - 1970-1990s
In the 70s, the company founded two subsidiaries, which later will be engaged in the manufacture of all-terrain vehicles for the military needs of Asia Motors. Starting in 1976, the creation of heavy and medium trucks was launched. Two years later, engineers manage to create their own engine, and therefore the number of options for assemblies of KIA is increasing. The trim levels appear for the Fiat 132 and Peugeot sedans, which are manufactured for the domestic market.
In the 80s, a serious financial crisis sets in, which leads to a significant reduction in the KIA model range. In 1981, the corporation abandons the production of motorcycles and four models of passenger cars. Highly qualified specialists were able to save the company from collapse, who came to the place of the owners who had departed from management. Hiring professional managers was a lifesaver. With the new vision, the prospect is emerging for the production of Bongo commercial vehicles, which will later become donors for a light truck, a minivan and a farm pickup truck. The Ceres monochromatic truck was equipped with four-wheel drive and sent to several countries for export.
A new round of development of the company brings it to the segment of successful ones. Having passed the crisis, KIA is bringing new passenger cars to the market. The first was the facelifted Mazda 121, released under the Pride name in 1987. The novelty was delivered to the foreign market under the Festiva nameplate. The body of the KIA kept from its predecessor, the engine developed 60-73 hp. Technical innovations consisted in reinforced doors, which were supposed to protect in a side collision, and a dual-circuit drive. In 1996, the KIA salon acquired a single airbag.
In 1987, KIA breaks into the American market, which is considered the most promising. Cooperation with Ford Motor, which agreed to supply Festiva from KIA, played an important role in this. The prices of this model are incredibly low, which makes the car affordable for the poor. The first year was profitable and brought the Korean company $ 2.4 billion.
The main competitor remains Hyundai, which begins production of expensive cars in the mid-1980s. In contrast, KIA is focusing on filling the niche of cheap cars. The low price was achieved by saving on production, including low wages for labor. In addition, KIAs profited from tough trade barriers. In 1988, sales hit again. During the year, 305 foreign cars were sold, while the export amounted to more than half a million copies produced by both KIA and Hyundai.
At this time, new items enter the market - Concord with a two-liter engine and Capital with a 1.5-liter KIA engine. The front-wheel drive remains unchanged. In 1988, the company managed to produce the millionth car. In addition, the lineup also includes Trade, Besta and Rhino.
Further development of the company 1990-present
In 1992, the first representative office of the company was opened in the USA. Europe is also opening its doors to a Korean company. The latter received the Sephia as a debut, and a year later the compact SUV KIA Sportage entered the market, the development of which the company spent 10 years. In 1995, the Clarus appears, which is a relative of the Mazda 626 and Elan. In the indicated year, it was possible to export more than a million cars and conclude an agreement with the Kaliningrad plant to establish its own production.
In mid-1997, the company again faced an economic crisis. A debt of $ 5.7 billion makes KIA declare bankruptcy. The world's largest companies are fighting for the ownership of the company, but in the end, the shares go to Hyundai, which later forms the Hyundai-KIA Automotive Group, adding new models to the range of KIAs.
In 2001 Magentis appeared, representing the optimal ratio of quality and price. In addition, a model with a great future appears - KIA Rio, which took the place of an analogue of the Accent Hyundai. A year later, KIA Cerato, Opirus and Ikstrek were presented. In 2004, the updated Sportage and KIA Picanto appeared on the market. This year also went down in history as the beginning of construction in Slovakia.
In 2005, Korean production was opened on the basis of the Russian IzhAvto plant. KIA Spectra, Kia Rio and KIA Sorento roll off the assembly line. The Izhevsk plant worked properly until 2010. In 2007 the company became the largest manufacturer of the year according to the English Institute of Transport Management. KIA Sid is being developed especially for the European market.
In 2006, the company decides to create a unique design for the KIA. Former Audi and Volkswagen employee Peter Schreier is officially designated as Lead Designer. It was he who proposed the corporate look of the radiator grill, which looked like a tiger's grin.
It was possible to get away from the front-wheel drive only in 2012 with the advent of the Quoris, which stood on the platform from the Hyundai Equus. In contrast, they recorded a large wheelbase, short overhangs and an aggressive design. In Russia, the model was presented only a year later. Under the hood was a 3.8-liter 290 hp engine equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
At the moment, KIA 2019 has a wide selection of cars. Such models as KIA Mojave, KIA Soul, KIA Rio Line, KIA Optima, KIA Serato, Kia Sportage, etc. are especially popular in Russia. According to 2010 data, the company ranked second in sales in Russia among foreign brands. In 2011, the KIA 3 (generation) Rio was adapted to Russian realities, which made it the best-selling one, ahead of the domestic Granta and Hyundai Solaris.
At the moment, in addition to production, the company is actively involved in the development of modern technologies in the automotive industry. It is impossible not to note a huge step forward in ensuring security. The company is also investing heavily in a research institute near Seoul, whose main focus remains a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
Today the company ranks second in sales after Lada. In 2018, the company managed to sell 227.5 thousand cars and commercial vehicles. The best-selling model remains KIA Rio (100 thousand cars sold). In addition, the Sportage ranks among the 25 best-selling vehicles with 32,667 vehicles per year. In 2019, the sale of the KIA K900 started, which is equipped with a 5.0-liter 413 hp engine.