Back in 1991 the Kia Pride was the only Kia model on sale in the UK and the small hatchback went on to find 1,786 British homes in its debut year. Since then the firm has changed beyond all recognition and grown at an extraordinary rate to become a major global brand. In 2010 Kia recorded its best ever year in the UK with 56,114 vehicles sold – a feat matched at an international level as Kia sold in excess of 2 million vehicles worldwide for the first time.
Early models such as the Pride and first generations of the Sportage crossover and Sedona MPV were renowned for offering great value for money and brought many customers to the brand. Recent models such as the European designed and manufactured cee’d, along with Kia’s industry-leading seven year warranty, have built the South Korean firm a reputation for quality and reliability.
The appointment of Peter Schreyer as Chief Design Officer in 2006 coincided with a shift in direction for the brand to put exciting design at the heart of all its new products and to appeal first and foremost on an emotional level. The popularity of stunning new models such as the Soul urban crossover, Venga mini-MPV, Sportage and all-new Picanto is testament to these efforts.
Commenting on Kia’s 20th UK anniversary, Michael Cole, Managing Director, Kia Motors (UK) Limited, said: “Kia has been on quite a phenomenal journey in recent years. In less than two decades we’ve certainly lived up to our ‘Power to Surprise’ slogan by growing from a relatively small importer to challenging the best and most established brands in the industry.”
“We think we have a fantastic range of cars and, judging by our growth over the last few years, it seems our customers think so too! 2011 is set to be our busiest year yet and I’m confident it’ll be one where we challenge perceptions more than ever as we launch three superb new products in the UK – new Picanto, new Rio and, later in the year, new Kia Optima” added Cole.
Kia Motors Corporation is considerably older than its UK subsidiary having recently celebrated its own 67th anniversary on the 25th May 2011. From its origins of manufacturing bicycles in the 1950s Kia has now grown to be part of the 4th largest automotive group in the world and is present in over 170 countries.