Kia Motors is a thriving automobile brand while being headquartered in Seoul, it’s South Korea’s second-largest auto manufacturer, after Hyundai. Kia attributes its ongoing success to its laser focus on both style and engineering. The unique look of a Kia has helped developed its strong brand recognition among consumers. Its popularity and reputation for quality have been well recognized by industry professionals as well. Since 2013, Kia Cars have won the International Car of the Year Award, every year. Kia dealership locations across the country will soon be proudly showcasing the new, exciting 2020 models, sure to attract brand enthusiasts to stop in for a test drive.
Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, helped create the distinctive face of Kia over a decade ago. This became knowns at the “Tiger Nose.” In a 2010 interview, Schreyer stated his thoughtful reasoning behind the clever concept: “The front of a car needs this recognition, this expression. A car needs a face, and I think the new Kia face is strong and distinctive. Visibility is vital, and that face should immediately allow you to identify a Kia even from a distance.”
Peter Schreyer was later named one of the three presidents of Kia in 2012. Kia wasn’t his only successful branding venture. The German automobile designer is actually more well-known for his prior work on the Audi TT. It was ultimately called “the most influential automotive designs in recent time”, by Car Design News. Kia clearly chose the right man for the job, as Schreyer recognized that Kia’s early image was “neutral” and “not recognizable at first sight.” The Tiger Nose was first introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007 on the “Kia concept vehicle.”
Based on the long-term positive trajectory of the company, his idea for the Tiger Nose was a hit. This milestone design marked a clear vision and a recognizable brand, which became vital for Kia’s success. Every time drivers spot the sharp look of the Tiger Nose on the roadways, Kia gets another chance to plug its stylish vehicles to the next generation of car buyers. Kia has successfully capitalized on the benefits of unique brand recognition, helping it to stand out in an auto market that’s flooded with options.
Kia’s Winding Road to Success
The name “Kia” comes from the Sino-Korean translation, which means, “Rising from the East.” Kia’s humble roots originated in the bicycle industry in December 1944. Kyungsung Precision Industry, as it was named at the time, was famously credited with creating Korea’s first domestic bicycle. By 1952, the company had expanded and officially shortened its name to Kia Industries. They joined the automobile industry by producing Honda motorcycles and later entering into Mazda-derived cars and trucks.
After years of politically-fueled industry suppression in Asia, Kia eventually partnered with the Ford Motor Company and was incorporated with the United States in 1992. This fortuitous partnership gave the brand new life and the opportunity to flourish in the auto industry under free-market conditions. As time went on, Kia eventually grew to hold over 100 dealerships in the United States, spread among thirty different states. In 1995, they sold a record number of automobiles, a total of 24,740 units.
Despite this boom in business, Kia took a hard hit just two years later. The Asian financial crisis in 1997, caused the once-promising brand to declare bankruptcy not long after it’s rise to the top. As a result, Hyundai took over Ford’s majority share of the corporation. Sales were gradually built back up again through the European auto market. Eventually, Kia successfully made its way back to the United States, opening various new dealerships and winning J.D. Power and Associates prestigious award for reliability in 2016. Innovation is alive and well at Kia today, with lots of 2020 vehicles coming out in the latest line-up.
In 2020, you’ll find the Kia Optima available as a hybrid or a hybrid plug-in. What was once known as Kia’s “technology package” is now included as part of the standard models, (such as a convenient wireless device charging station). For a sedan, the Kia Optima offers decent cargo space with 60-40 split rear seats to accommodate larger storage when needed. For the environmentally-friendly driver, the Optima provides excellent safety and luxury features for starting prices just under $30,000.
Kia is introducing a completely redesigned version of the Soul for 2020. With lots of innovative features and impressive interior space, this version is notably roomier than other comparable subcompact crossover vehicles. The exterior in the updated model has been modernized, with a new base powertrain. It’s highly rated, affordable and offers the same “smart” capabilities you’d expect in a more expensive vehicle. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto lets drivers and passengers stay connected while commuting to work or traveling on a road trip.
The 2020 Sportage also got a makeover for the new year, including updated styling and safety features. The attractive dashboard layout is equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen. Drivers can enjoy Adaptive Cruise Control while taking a smooth and quiet ride. This version is part of the fourth generation of the Sportage. If you’re looking for something a bit bigger than the Optima, but not quite as large as the Soul, this is the perfect option.
Kia isn’t “holding back” with its highly celebrated introduction of the 2020 Telluride. A three-row SUV, the new Telluride is a futuristic model with enough seating for up to eight people. Its off-roading features include an all-wheel-drive system with Torque Vectoring Cornering Control. Out of the many vehicles presented during the Detroit Auto Show, Cars.com awarded the 2020 Kia Telluride with “Best in Show.”
Drivers can enjoy a larger 10.25″ touchscreen display, along with a Heads-Up display to keep your eyes on the road. Four different drive modes, including Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Smart, adjust to your needs. There’s a useful option to amplify your voice to rear passengers, so you don’t have to yell to communicate with others in the back. Dual sunroofs and USB ports are also available for backseat riders.
Its spacious interior, impressive technology features, comfortable seating, and high-class amenities are more akin to luxury brands but offered to drivers in the Telluride without the high-end price tag attached. Cars.com judges noted that the Telluride is easy to get in and out of, offers lots of room for passengers and cargo space and is aesthetically pleasing. Its tech features and no-nonsense design make the new Kia Telluride the perfect large family vehicle for 2020.
Kia Continues to Win by Playing the Long-Game
Kia’s winning legacy is kept alive through this latest accomplishment. With a distinct exterior that’s consistent on all Kia brand vehicles and a commitment to quality at a reasonable price. Kia has managed to weather the sharp ups and downs of the global auto market. The brand has certainly come a long way on it’s a rocky journey to the top. Its sales evidence was an example of Kia’s sharply contrasted success in 1986 when the brand manufactured just 26 cars in total. Never staying out of the game for long, Kia followed up with a comeback in 1987 by manufacturing 95,000 vehicles. Despite some difficult years, the Tiger Nose has indeed prevailed with enduring strength.