Research and Development Centre, Rüsselsheim, Frankfurt

Published | 23/02/2022


Established in 2003, Kia’s Research and Development Centre in Rüsselsheim, Frankfurt is the company’s engineering headquarters in Europe. The facility is responsible for developing and tuning cars to maximise their appeal to European drivers.


The engineering team in Frankfurt collaborates closely with Kia’s R&D headquarters in Namyang, South Korea and Irvine, USA to engineer world-class vehicles. This global network allows Kia to maintain a round-the-clock development schedule, handing over development and testing work between the three engineering headquarters. This lets Kia create global vehicles, with the Rüsselsheim facility ensuring cars are optimised for the European market.


The work carried out at Kia’s European R&D centre ensures every Kia sold in Europe is worthy of the company’s unique seven-year, 150,000-kilometre warranty, sold as standard on every car.



Powertrain engineering

The centre is responsible for fine-tuning powertrain characteristics. It is equipped with a range of cutting-edge R&D hardware and software to enable Kia’s dedicated engineers to develop new powertrains – electric, hybrid and internal combustion – that comply with increasingly stringent European emissions regulations.


Here, engineers work to optimise engine and vehicle performance, fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, and driveability, with the European base helping Kia to produce powertrains that match the very best for quality, dependability and performance.


The centre has up to six dynamometers operating at any one moment, with a chassis dynamometer used to better integrate different powertrains for individual vehicles. The centre also tests the quality and engineering parameters of European-supplied technology and components.





High-quality vehicle evaluation

Vehicle evaluation sits at the heart of Kia’s quality promise, with the Rüsselsheim base working with Kia’s other global R&D centres to evaluate and analyse every component of a car before it goes on sale.


The vehicle evaluation section houses a series of test rooms used to determine the road-going qualities of all new Kia models, such as suspension set-up, aerodynamics, and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).


The specific NVH room provides development teams an opportunity to iron out any issues with road noise and vehicle harshness, while suspension and steering characteristics are optimised in the Kinematics and Compliance department. A separate test chamber exists to fine-tune shock absorber settings and suspension character for Europe’s diverse road conditions.



On-location vehicle testing

To ensure the work done at Kia’s European R&D facility translates to the road, development teams in Rüsselsheim oversee a continent-wide testing regime for all Kia models. Their aim is to ensure cars meet the highest possible standards of quality, reliability, safety and performance in all environments, making cars capable of dealing with the harshest conditions that our planet has to offer.




Test programmes operated by Kia’s European R&D centre include:

  • Powertrain and chassis durability testing at Germany’s infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife
  • Cold weather testing in Arjeplog in Swedish Lapland
  • Hot weather testing and cabin-cooling assessment at Spain’s IDIADA test facility near Barcelona
  • Dynamic handling tests in the European Alps


Testing in this diverse range of environments means all Kia models are subjected to – and excel in – the most extreme conditions that owners can expect to encounter.


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