What is the Kia Manufacturing Story? You May be Surprised

What you might not know is the story of Kia and where the Kia models that you drive are made. Several come from places you’ve never heard of.

Most of us can identify a Kia brand vehicle and know that the company is based in Korea.  We also have an idea that this brand has grown from being a bargain brand to become one that offers a variety of high-quality models at affordable prices that can be perfect for the drive we want to enjoy every day. With that in mind, let’s take a look at Kia and what makes it the brand that we admire and enjoy today.

A bit of History

Originally founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1944, the brand was originally called Kyungsung Precision Industry before changing its name to Kia Industries in 1956. The global headquarters for this brand is still located in Seoul and it produced vehicles under the license from other brands for several years. These brands included Ford, Mazda, Fiat, and Peugeot. The Asian Financial Crisis of the late 1990s caused Kia to file for bankruptcy and let to the influence we see from Hyundai that you might wonder about as part of the story.

In 1988, Hyundai, a rival South Korean automaker, purchased a 51 percent stake in Kia by outbidding Ford for the rights to do so. Today, Hyundai is still the largest stakeholder in the brand but the ownership has declined to only one-third of the Kia brand. Kia does own some part of several of the Hyundai companies which makes it so that these rivals are now intertwined in a way that would be difficult to have them separated from each other. Because of this partnership, the two companies share many platforms and engines for the vehicles that we see on the market today.

Where are These Vehicles Built?

As with many other companies, the Kia vehicles are built near the market in which they are sold when possible. Many of the models are still made in Korea, but you might be surprised to see where some of the vehicles are assembled. Here’s a list of models and the plants that produce them.

Sohari Plant –Gwangmyeong, South Korea

Kia K900

Kia Stinger

Kia Sedona

Hwaseong Plant –Woojeong-myeon, South Korea

Kia Cadenza

Kia Niro

Gwanju Plant –Gwanju, South Korea

Kia Soul

Kia Sportage

Monterrey Plant –Monterrey, Mexico

Kia Forte

Kia Rio S

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia –West Point, GA

Kia Sorento

Kia Optima

Ulsan Plant (Hyundai) –Ulsan, South Korea

Kia Telluride

Is Kia Right for You

Now that you know more about where the Kia brand came from and what you’re being offered with this brand, is this the brand you’re going to turn to for the vehicle you want to drive? Over the past several years, Kia has grown from being a bargain brand to one that provides us with some of the most incredible mainstream models that we can enjoy when we want to take a drive and have the right vehicle on the road.


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