January 12, 2022 – In a year that started amid global uncertainty across all industries and in all markets, Kia began 2021 with a bold reinvention of the brand, dropping the ‘Motors’ naming element and its iconic logo in favour of a rejuvenated and creative form synonymous with modern mobility, electrification and sustainability. The impact of this metamorphosis has resulted in a year of phenomenal success for Kia and propelled the brand to the forefront of sustainable mobility.
The mindset ‘new year, new start’ was at the core of the approach taken by Kia at the beginning of 2021 as the traditional automotive manufacturer reinvented itself in a literal flash of light. A flock of pyro-drones displayed the sleek all-new logo – a rhythmical unbroken line designed to inspire movement. In what is being seen as a milestone moment, Kia set its intention to become an icon for change and innovation, as well as its intention to lead the new mobility era.
The mechanism for this pivotal change was outlined under the Plan S strategy, which will see the company expand its remit to advance the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), offer alternative mobility solutions such as car-sharing and autonomous driving schemes and strengthen its purpose-built vehicle operation. Additionally, Kia will simultaneously promote sustainable production across the entire supply chain using clean energy and recyclable materials.
Alongside the compelling new logo, name and change in strategic direction, Kia also revealed its new ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy – a bold and daring ethos inspired by the nature and environment that sustainable mobility aims to protect. Opposites United, which is based on five distinct design pillars, will shape the future of all Kia vehicles, the first of which was Kia’s first dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV), the EV6.
Visionary BEV is launched
Introduced to the market at the mid-point of the year, the all-new BEV crossover – the EV6 – quickly disrupted the EV market in the most positive of ways. A winning combination of Kia’s advanced dedicated E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform), bold and conceptual styling, high-tech ultra-fast recharging capability, a state-of-the-art interior and remarkable performance have produced a BEV that continues to receive acclaim from across the globe.
Kia set out to revolutionize the mobility landscape and – with its very first E-GMP BEV development – the company has proved that electric mobility is a viable sustainable option. .
The EV6 is the first model in Kia’s history where pre-reservations were closed ahead of schedule due to unprecedented demand and interest. And this incredible reaction to the high-tech crossover has been recognized not just by customers but by many prestigious industry awards. In just over a month since going on sale, the EV6 scooped the BBC Top Gear ‘Crossover of the Year’ title and then it went on to be crowned German ‘Car of the Year’ in the premium category. In another prestigious acknowledgment, the EV6 has recently been shortlisted for the ‘European Car of the Year 2022’ title.
It wasn’t just the ground-breaking EV6 that won distinguished plaudits during the last 12 months. Kia’s range-topping SUV, the new Sorento, picked up the acclaimed Red Dot and iF design awards in addition to a ‘Women's World Car of the Year’ (WWCOTY) win for ‘Best Large SUV’.
Further enhancing its modern SUV line-up – and complementing the award-winning Sorento – Kia launched in October the all-new Sportage SUV. The fifth-generation model is the first Sportage to feature an eco-friendly plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain, and it’s also the first Sportage to be design, developed, honed and optimized especially for Europe in order to meet specific European tastes and requirements. The European Sportage features a shorter wheelbase, new tech and advanced powertrains as well as state-of-the-art engineering that ensures the SUV feels at home on European roads.
Fuelling Kia’s growth across Europe is the number of vehicles built locally at its high-tech production centre in Žilina, Slovakia. The modular, flexible and state-of-the-art facilities enable a highly efficient and just-in-time production line, which resulted in the Žilina plant producing its four millionth vehicle this year. The factory played a key role in supplying parts to ensure company success despite the tumultuous year for the automotive industry and beyond. In November it began producing the all-new Sportage. The Ceed family was the first model to be built at the Žilina factory when production began in 2006, and the latest iteration of the Ceed line-up is still produced there.
Kia’s sales bloomed across Europe to reach its highest ever market share of 4.2% in Q3. As 2021 ends, Kia’s ambition is to continue this growth trajectory. One of the models that is integral to this success is the Niro which, at the beginning of this year, was chosen by owners as the winner among mass-market brands in the J.D. Power 2021 Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study. The all-new Niro made its world debut at the Seoul Mobility Show in November and will be launched in Europe in hybrid and all-electric guises in 2022 as part of Kia’s longer-term plans to introduce a fully electrified line-up in Europe by 2035.
Realistic in its ambitions to lead the change to sustainable e-mobility, Kia recognizes that a capable and extensive charing infrastructure is vital. As such, the company has recently joined a major industry investment in IONITY, Europe’s leading ultra-fast EV charging network and continues to invest in other infrastructure projects.
Jason Jeong, President of Kia Europe, commented, “Last year has been incredible for the new Kia brand in Europe. We have new products, new design and a clear new strategy for the future. We are hugely excited about the pivotal role that our products and expertise will play in the advancement of sustainable electric mobility, helping to ensure a better, cleaner and happier future for all.”