Kia Motors is based in South Korea and has been in the car manufacturing industry since the 1940s. In 1973, Kia opened its first automotive plant. It is now the second largest car manufacturer in South Korea – Hyundai is the first – however, it is the oldest car manufacturer in South Korea. The company originally began by manufacturing bicycle parts and steel tubing. It currently has a Kia Defense division which manufactures six defense vehicles for the South Korean government. Hyundai is also part owner of Kia, and Kia is now a division of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group.

Kia only began sales in the US in 1992 in its division Kia Motors America. Kia Motors America is now the official automotive sponsor of the NBA. Kia opened Kia Motors Manufacturing in 2009 in Georgia and began its first production of vehicles in the US. It is not as well known in the US as some other car manufacturers, however its popularity has been on the rise in recent years.  Its market share has steadily increased over the last 14 years. In 2010, Kia sold over 1.4 million vehicles. In 2011 Kia outsold car manufacturers Mazda and Chrysler in the US. Part of this market share increase is due to the the design of Kia’s vehicle line-up, which began five years or so ago. Kia has a complete line of vehicles sold through more than 640 dealers across the US. Kia now makes a good range of vehicles for consumers including cars, SUVs, vans, commercial vehicles and electrical vehicles. The name “Kia” means “to arise to the world from Asia” and this is exactly what Kia Motors has done over the last few decades.

Flagship Vehicle

Kia Opirus - the Opirus is Kia’s flagship vehicle. It’s the first full-size car that was entered into the car market by Kia and is sold under various names, the predominant one being the Amanti.  It was first manufactured in 2003 and is only marketed as a sedan. The model was awarded the “Most Appealing Premium Mid-Size car” by JD Power and Associates in 2005. This model was a very popular model for Kia until it was discontinued late 2010. It was replaced by the Kia Cadenza which is based on the model Azera from Hyundai which is considered a premium luxury sedan.

Sub Compacts
Full Size
Mid Size



Even though the company Kia was founded in the 1940s in South Korea, it did not start production of vehicles in the US until just a few years ago. Kia is steadily becoming a more recognized car manufacturer in the US, especially now that production of their vehicles is  taking place in the US. It operates over 700 dealerships in the US and has progressively increased its market share each year. Some future models Kia has planned include more electric vehicles in response to changing trends globally. Their line-up of vehicles has expanded over the years, giving consumers a much more diverse selection.