History Highlights

Published | 13/11/2017

1944

  • Corporate Foundation (Kyongseong Precision)

1952

  • Commenced production of the first Korean-made bicycle, the Samchonriho
  • Changed the corporate name to Kia Industry Co., Ltd.

1957

  • Siheung Factory was completed.

1962

  • Commenced production of the K-360 three-wheel cargo truck

1973

  • Took over Kia Precision Works Co. Ltd.
  • Sohari Factory was completed
  • Commenced production of a 2,000cc gasoline engine

1974

  • Commenced production of the Brisa, Korea's first small-size passenger car

1978

  • Commenced production of diesel engines

1979

  • Commenced production of Pugeot 604 and Fiat 132

1982

  • Awarded the Grand Prize for Invention for its retrogression control device

1987

  • Commenced production of the Pride and Concorde

1988

  • Cumulative production figures reached one million
  • Commenced production of a 2.5 ton truck and a 5-ton truck

1990

  • Changed its corporate name to Kia Motors Corporation
  • Completed construction of Asan Plant (Hwasung Plant)

1991

  • Kia's Sephia and Sportage were displayed at the 29th Tokyo Motor Show.

1992

  • Commenced production of the Potentia luxury sedan, and Sephia, Kia's first proprietary passenger car
  • New Headquarters building was completed
  • Established Kia Japan
  • Established Kia Motors America

1993

  • Cumulative production figures reached 3 million
  • Commenced production of the Sportage SUV
  • Completed construction of a proving ground at the Asan Plant

1994

  • 50th Anniversary of corporate foundation
  • Changed the Group's corporate identity
  • Commenced production of Avella.
  • Construction of Automation Factory was completed.
  • Commenced export of the Sephia and Sportage to the U.S.

1995

  • 30th anniversary of foundation of Asia Motors Co., Inc.
  • Established Kia Information System Co., Ltd.
  • Commenced production of the Credos mid-size sedan
  • Completed the construction of an R&D center in Tokyo
  • Established Kia-Ford Auto Finance Co. Ltd.
  • Commenced production of the Pregio van

1996

  • Commenced export of the Sephia and Credos to Europe
  • Commenced the national car project in Indonesia
  • Commenced production of the Elan sportster
  • Cumulative production figures reached 5 million

1997

  • Commenced production of the Enterprise luxury sedan
  • Commenced production of the Sephia II and the Bongo Frontier
  • Started construction of Kia plant in Indonesia
  • Completed the joint venture plant in China
  • Commenced production of the Shuma compact sedan

1998

  • Commenced production of the Carnival MPV, the Credos II mid-size sedan, 1-ton Frontier Tilting Cab, and multi-purpose 7-passenger type wagon Parktown.
  • Cumulative export figures reached 2 million units
  • Hyundai Motor takes over Kia Motors

1999

  • Commenced selling 1999-type Carnival, Credos II 2.0V 6 deluxe sedan
  • Changed the name of the Asan Plant to the Hwasung Plant.
  • Kia won the first place among Korean automakers in the number of cars exported to the U.S. in January and February.
  • Commenced selling the 1999-type Potentia

2000

  • Commenced production of the Pregio 15-seater and Millennium Carnival
  • Started sales of Retona Cruiser
  • Participated in the 70th Geneva Motor Show
  • Commenced production of the 2000-type Visto
  • Adopted the brand identity in all cars

2000

  • Commenced production of Spectra, compact sedan and the Optima, mid-size sedan  
  • Moved head office to Yangjae-dong in Seoul
  • Commenced production of Millennium Rio and Carens 2.0 Di LPG

2001

  • Participated in 2001 Chicago Motor Show
  • Commenced selling Carnival II.
  • New Rio was introduced in the market
  • Kia was awarded the Korea Quality Grand Prize (the 27th)
  • Participated in 2001 Chicago Motor Show
  • Participated in Shanghai Motor Show
  • President Kim Dae-jung paid a visit to the Sohari Plant
  • Kia advanced into the Chinese market in full force

2002

  • 2002.Carnival Common Rail marketed
  • Sorento luxury SUV marketed
  • Kia Q Service enters full operation
  • Diesel-powered Carens II marketed
  • Cumulative production reaches 10 million units
  • First Skill World Cup Competition held
  • Regal mid-size sedan marketed
  • Company awarded 2002 Value Management Award
  • Upgraded compact sedan Rio SF marketed
  • Subsidiary companies established in 5 European countries
  • Company awarded Grand Prize in Korea Service Quality Award
  • Sorento begins exports to overseas market

2003

  • Opirus, luxury sedan is launched
  • Cerato, compact sedan is launched
  • Four millionth unit exported
  • Five Billion Export Tower Award received
  • Average export price reaches US$10,000
  • Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group consolidates R&D centers

2004

  • Groundbreaking for Slovakian Plant
  • Picanto, mini-car is launched
  • Second China Plant announced
  • Broke March CBU exports record
  • Second Kia Skill World Cup held
  • 60th Anniversary of corporate foundation
2006
  • Start of production in the 1st European factory in Zilina, Slovakia
  • cee’d, 1st Kia model designed and produced in Europe, is launched
  • 7-Year-Warranty is introduced with the cee’d

2007

  • Opening of European Headquarter and Design Center in Frankfurt, Germany

2009

  • 1st Soul launched
  • New Sorento launched

2010

  • 7-Year-Warranty applies to ALL vehicles sold and registered in Europe
  • New Sportage launched
  • 1st Venga launched

2011

  • New Picanto and Rio launched

2012

  • Kia breaks ground on 3rd plant in China
  • 1st Optima launched in Europe (January)
  • 1st Optima HEV launched in Europe (October)

2013

  • New Carens launched
  • Launch of Kia’s sportiest car – pro_cee’d GT and cee’d GT

2014

  • YouTube Music Awards presented by Kia are back for an encore (Kia Motors is serving as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the YouTube Music Awards (YTMAs) )
  • Kia Motors brand value skyrockets 480 percent since 2007 (Kia is named the world’s  74th most valuable brand according to Interbrand’s 2014 “Best Global Brands” report)
  • Consumers get a 'Taste of Kia' with unique Korean-inspired dishes ('Taste of Kia' is a collaborative project - latest sensory branding initiative, aimed at enhancing customer interaction with the brand)
  • Launch of Kia’s 1st electric vehicle in Europe – Soul EV

2015

  • Kia's new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission cuts emissions, improves performance (Kia has announced application of the all-new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) to a production model for the first time)
  • Kia Motors granted Nevada autonomous driving license
  • Kia takes first place in Auto Bild magazine's Quality Report 2015
  • Kia Motors to introduce first autonomous driving technologies by 2020
  • New Sorento launched

2016

  • Kia Motors Ranked Number One in the Auto Industry for Initial Quality by J.D. Power
  • Kia Sportage awarded first for quality and reliability in J.D. Power Long-Term Satisfaction Test
  • Kia officially Opens Mexico Production Facility
  • Kia reached 400,000 European sales for the first time
  • Kia marks 10 years of European production in Slovakia
  • Kia Niro sets Guinness World Record title for lowest fuel consumption by a hybrid vehicle

2017

  • Kia Stinger makes world debut at North American International Auto Show
  • Kia Stinger receives EyesOn Design Award
  • Kia Motors to build Manufacturing plant in India
  • Kia Signs new UEFA Europe league sponsorship deal
  • Kia Motors has named Pierre Leclercq as its new Head of Styling.
  • Kia Motors Constantly Increases Global Brand Value (Kia is named the world’s  69th most valuable brand according to Interbrand’s 2017 “Best Global Brands” report)
  • Kia introduces all new Stonic at IAA'17: an eye-catching and confident crossover
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Press Contacts

Vladislav Alexiev

Manager Product Communications

Phone: +4969850928354

E-mail: kme-press@kia-europe.com