Kia is among the reputable Asian car manufacturers that gained significant popularity in the last decade. Before this, Kia models were considered affordable cars with little value and questionable reliability.
Today, Kia offers a wide variety of models that include hatchbacks, sedans, and great-looking SUVs.
Although Kia became one of the most popular car manufacturers across the globe, many are still unaware of where is Kia from and who makes them. In this article, you’ll find everything there is to know about Kia, and which are some of its most popular models.
History of Kia
The Kia Corporation, or Kia for short, is a South Korean automotive manufacturer that was founded in 1944. The company initially made steel tubing and bicycle parts, and its entrance to the automotive industry happened when it started manufacturing Honda-licenced motorcycles and Mazda-licenced trucks and cars.
Although Kia manufactured cars for different brands, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 1990s that it unveiled its first models. By this time, Kia has expanded to the United States. From 1992 until 1995, Kia opened more than one hundred dealerships across the United States, selling almost 25,000 cars. Kia’s first models on the US market included the Kia Sephia, as well as the Sportage 4×4 SUV. It wasn’t until 2009 that Kia models started being manufactured in the United States, in the Georgia manufacturing facility.
Where is Kia Made?
Kia was initially manufacturing cars for other car brands, but as its popularity grew, Kia started expanding its manufacturing facilities across the globe. Today, Kia has more than 10 manufacturing plants across the globe, which include 4 manufacturing facilities in South Korea, one in China, one in India, one in Mexico, one in Pakistan, one in Slovakia, one in Uzbekistan, one in Vietnam, and two in the United States.
Five of Kia’s manufacturing facilities are in charge of manufacturing models sold on the US market. These include the Georgia plant that manufactures the Telluride, Optima, Sorento, and K5; the Mexico plant that manufactures the Forte and Rio models; the Sohari plant that manufactures the Sedona, Stinger, and K900 models; the Kwangju plant that manufactures the Seltos, Soul, and Sportage models; and lastly, the Hwasung plant that’s in charge of manufacturing the Niro and Cadenza models.
Who Owns Kia?
Until 1997, Kia was a standalone company. When the Asian financial crisis hit, Kia declared bankruptcy. Only a year later in 1998, Hyundai bought 51% of Kia’s stake, making it the majority shareholder of this brand. Even today, the Hyundai Motor Co owns a bit more than 33%, but Kia is a subsidiary of the Hyundai Motor Group.
What Are Kia’s Current Models?
Kia’s catalog of new cars currently includes 19 models. This includes SUVs and Crossovers, hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as sedans.
The SUV category includes the Soul, Seltos, Sportage, Sorento, Carnival, and Telluride. The hybrids include the Niro, Sportage Hybrid, Niro Plug-In Hybrid, Sorento Hybrid, Sportage Plug-In Hybrid, the Niro EV, EV6, and the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid. The sedans include the Rio, the 5-door Rio, Forte, K5, and Stinger.
Surprisingly, the most successful Kia model in 2021 was the Forte sedan, although it’s not as popular as some other models. In 2021 Kia sold more than 115,000 units of the Forte in the US alone. Speaking globally, the Sportage was the most successful model with more than 360,000 units sold worldwide.
When it comes to popularity, the Stinger is among the most popular models coming from this South Korean manufacturer. The most powerful trim line named the GT2 includes a 3.3-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine that makes 368 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters comes as standard, with high-performance Brembo brakes to allow the car to stop from reaching the high speeds it’s capable of.
The Telluride is the biggest car from Kia and a common choice for large families. This model comes with a 3.8-liter V6 gasoline-powered engine that makes 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. This SUV has a 7-seat capacity and comes with 20-inch rims as standard, making it a great family car that looks incredible. It’s also packed with incredible features that make this car very safe and fun to drive. The Telluride has also won numerous awards for its build quality and safety features.
Aside from powerful gasoline-powered engines, Kia also offers the EV6, a fully electrical car with either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Although it uses the same magnet motor in both versions, the AWD version has a significantly larger power output. The rear-wheel-drive version offers 225 hp, while the all-wheel-drive version offers up to 320 hp of power. The same goes for the torque which goes up to 446 lb-ft for the AWD version. The less power the EV6 has, the more range it will have. A single charge in the rear-wheel-drive version will allow you to travel more than 130 miles in the city, and around 100 miles on the highway. It also comes with an impressive list of standard features and equipment, with a few luxurious upgrades available as extra options, such as 20-inch rims, a heated steering wheel, a heat pump HVAC system, all-wheel-drive, and second-row heated seats.
What Makes Kia Such a Good Car?
One of the biggest reasons why Kia became such a popular car is its reliability. Out of all the car manufacturers, it has one of the lowest recall rates, just behind Mercedes Benz and Porsche. Taking into consideration the prices of these cars, Kia offers the best value for money in the entire automotive market.
Aside from this, Kia’s models cover everything the market is looking for, from economical hatchbacks to the largest SUVs, and performance sedans. Their price and amazing warranty are also something that most Kia owners say is the reason why they chose this South Korean car brand.
Taking everything into consideration, there are more than enough reasons to choose Kia as your new car. Not only can you choose between an efficient hatch, a luxury sedan, an SUV, or fully electric car, but you can get a very long warranty as well.