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Kia Motors is Korea’s oldest car manufacturer, and its second biggest. Having produced the country’s first bicycle, first motorcycle and first truck, they also became the first Korean manufacturers of petrol and diesel engines.
Kia opened a manufacturing plant in the United States in 2006, and is focussing a large amount of energy on increasing their operations across Europe. As a result, Kia is one of the world’s fastest growing car companies.
Kia cars have now been available in Australia for 10 years, and over 120,000 can be found on Australian roads.
Kia currently sells nine diverse models in Australia, ranging from the compact, European-influenced Rio to the Carnival, Australia’s most popular people-mover.
With SUVs, light commercial and mid-size vehicles also on sale, the breadth of Kia’s range and their affordability are likely contributors to the company’s success.
Kia has, at various points in its history, been partially owned by Hyundai and Ford, occasionally resulting in the tactical co-manufacturing of vehicle lines for export. For example, starting in 1986, Kia produced vehicles (from Mazda designs) for Ford in the United States, who branded the cars as Festivas.
Like most car manufacturers, Kia is beginning to move with the green car revolution, having unveiled the Kia Soul Hybrid in 2008, though this line is not yet on sale.
Honouring its origins as a truck manufacturer, Kia still produces a wide variety of commercial vehicles, many of which are available in Australia.