History Highlights

Published | 05/03/2021




  • Kia unveils new logo and brand philosophy – Movement that Inspires
  • Kia loses the word ‘Motors’, re-branding simply as Kia
  • Kia achieves highest ever European market share of 4.3%
  • Kia unveils its new Design Philosophy formed of five pillars: Bold for Nature, Joy for Reason, Power to Progress, Technology for Life, and Tension for Serenity
  • Kia’s European factory in Žilina, Slovakia, passes 4 million-production milestone
  • Kia launches first dedicated electric vehicle, the EV6 – based on the new Electric-Global Modular Platform
  • Kia launches its all-new Sportage SUV, for the first time exclusively design for Europe
  • Kia reveals the all-new Niro for its world debut at the 2021 Seoul Mobility Show
  • Kia displays its next all-electric SUV, Concept EV9 – a manifestation of its vision as a sustainable mobility solution provider – at AutoMobility LA



  • Kia reveals the fourth-generation Sorento
  • Kia electrifies the popular Ceed line-up for the first time, with Plug-in Hybrid variants of the XCeed and Ceed Sportswagon
  • Kia announces Plan S, signalling a shift towards prioritising clean mobility solutions



  • Kia Motors is the highest ranked mass market brand in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study for the fifth consecutive year
  • Kia launches new ‘GT’ versions of the Ceed and ProCeed, as well as the new XCeed
  • The Imagine by Kia Concept is revealed
  • Kia launches the third-generation Soul – sold exclusively in Europe with a long-range, fully-electric powertrain



  • Kia launches the Niro EV
  • Kia’s 3 millionth car is built at its facility in Žilina, Slovakia
  • Kia has its 10th year of consecutive sales growth in Europe – unrivalled by any other manufacturer
  • Kia Motors is the highest ranked mass market brand in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study for the fourth consecutive year
  • CES 2019: Kia prepares for post-autonomous driving era with AI-based real-time emotion recognition technology



  • Kia unveils Proceed Concept
  • Kia launches the Stinger
  • New third-generation Picanto launched with GT-Line and X-Line
  • Kia launches the Rio, and the Stonic, the brand’s first car in the compact crossover segment



  • Kia Motors tops J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study for the first time
  • 2017 Kia Niro Sets Guinness World Records™ Title for Lowest Fuel Consumption By A Hybrid Vehicle
  • Kia launches the Optima Sportswagon, exclusive to Europe
  • Kia launches its first dedicated hybrid model – the Niro



  • Kia Motors earns best-ever ranking in 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study
  • Kia shows SPORTSPACE Concept at the Geneva International Motor Show
  • Kia launches the third-generation Optima and the fourth-generation Sportage



  • The Soul EV is launched – Kia’s first electric vehicle to go on sale globally
  • Kia reveals GT4 Stinger concept
  • Kia showcases a mild hybrid concept car called the Optima T-Hybrid



  • Kia wins four prestigious Red Dot Design Awards for the pro_cee’d, cee'd five-door, cee'd Sportswagon and Carens MPV
  • Kia Motors is named 37th in Interbrand's list of 50 Best Global Green Brands 2013
  • Kia's accumulated overseas sales exceed 50 million units



  • Kia Motors enters Interbrand's list of 100 Best Global Brands
  • Kia reveals the Soul-based Track’ster Concept
  • Kia launches the second-generation Cee’d, as well as the Cee’d GT and Pro_cee’d GT – Kia’s first ‘GT’ cars



  • GT Concept launched at Frankfurt Motor Show
  • Kia launches the second-generation Picanto and third-generation Rio



  • The 7-year warranty is extended to all Kia cars in Europe
  • Kia's Georgia Plant opens in the United States of America
  • Kia's third-generation Optima sedan is unveiled along with several key new technologies
  • Kia launches the second generation of the Sorento and third generation of the Sportage



  • The Soul becomes Korea's first car to receive a red dot Design Award
  • Kia launches the Venga, a strategic model for Europe and the third car to be built at Kia’s Žilina, Slovakia production plant
  • The Venga receives the iF Design Award



  • The first-generation Soul is launched
  • Kia shows two new hybrid concept cars at the Paris Motor Show, based on the new Soul and cee'd, with a 1.6-litre gasoline engine paired with a 15 kW electric motor



  • Kia’s second Chinese plant opens
  • Kia Motors Europe moves from Eschborn to a purpose-built facility in the centre of Frankfurt, Germany
  • Kia ‘Kee’ is displayed at Frankfurt motor show. Introduces Kia’s ‘Tiger nose’ grille



  • The Rio takes first place in J.D. Power's quality ranking in the sub-compact category
  • The cee'd, Kia's strategic model for Europe, is unveiled at Paris Motor Show
  • Kia’s Žilina plant in Slovakia opens



Earlier highlights

  • 2004 – Kia produces the first-generation Kia Picanto
  • 2004 – Construction on Kia's Slovakia Plant commences
  • 2003 – Kia's globally competitive automotive R&D institute opens in Namyang, South Korea
  • 2002 – Total cumulative production exceeds 10 million units
  • 2000 – Kia launches the Optima
  • 1998 – Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors merge
  • 1996 – The Elan, Korea's first authentic sport car, is launched
  • 1993 – The Kia Sportage is launched and completes the Paris-Dakar rally
  • 1992 – The Sephia, Kia's first independently-developed passenger car, starts production. Kia Motors America incorporated in the United States
  • 1987 – The Pride is Kia’s first car to be sold in America. The value of Kia’s total exports exceeds $100 million for the first time
  • 1974 – Kia’s first passenger car, the Brisa, is unveiled
  • 1952 – The Samchully, Korea’s first bicycle, is unveiled. The company changes its name to Kia Industries
  • 1944 – Kia founded as Kyungsung Precision Industry, making steel tubing and bicycle parts

Press Contacts