DETROIT, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Motors America (KMA) today announced its 15th consecutive year of increased market share in the U.S. – up more than 46 percent over 2008 – fueled by a record-selling 2009 that saw the brand surpass many popular nameplates. KMA's 2009 sales of 300,063 units represents a staggering 9.8 percent improvement over 2008, despite the auto industry's overall negative performance and the challenging economic conditions. KMA also introduced four all-new vehicles – Soul, Forte, Forte Koup and the 2011 Sorento – that attracted new and more affluent customers to its showrooms and began changing perception of the brand with their combination of dramatic styling, fun-to-drive performance, advanced technology features and outstanding value.
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With more than $1.3 billion invested in the U.S. market in the last five years, the Kia family of companies continues to progress with domestic research and design, vehicle testing and corporate and manufacturing facilities, including the recent opening of Kia's first U.S. manufacturing plant – Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) – in West Point, Georgia.
"Kia Motors has come a long way in a very short time, and our global commitment to world-class design and advanced technologies has delivered a wave of new products that redefine the Kia value story and are bringing more customers to our showrooms every day," said B.M. Ahn, group president and CEO, KMA and KMMG. "We experienced unprecedented growth in large urban markets in 2009 as more style-conscious buyers added Kia to their shopping list and discovered the unique combination of quality, safety and economy that are our brand pillars."
With two new vehicle introductions and several other key initiatives planned for 2010, Kia Motors is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value and safety features and with new technology like the recently introduced UVO powered by Microsoft®(2) infotainment system.
KMA 2009 Milestones:
-- Sales: Despite unprecedented market challenges in 2009, KMA's 2009 sales surged past the 300,000 mark for the second time in company history. Soul, Forte and Forte Koup helped propel KMA to its all-time monthly sales record in August 2009, with more than 40,000 vehicles sold, outpacing the old mark by 29 percent and helping the brand achieve its best sales quarter ever. The record month was due in part to increased foot traffic resulting from the U.S. government's CARS program and KMA's relative market share increase tied to the vehicles included in the CARS program was among the top three brands in the industry.
For KMA's East region, including major markets like New York, Washington D.C., and Boston, market share is up more than 80 percent year-over-year.
-- KMMG: On November 16, 2009, Kia started production at its first U.S. assembly plant – Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) – in West Point, Georgia. At full capacity, the state-of-the-art facility will employ 2,500 team members and will have the ability to produce 300,000 vehicles per year. With on-site and nearby suppliers expected to create 7,500 jobs, KMMG will ultimately result in 10,000 jobs being added in the region. A $1 billion investment by Kia, KMMG is built on 2,200-acres and includes a body stamping facility, a transmission shop and a two mile test track in addition to the main assembly plant.
-- Sorento: The first vehicle to be built at KMMG, the all-new Sorento CUV encompasses the brand's signature design cues as well as its distinct combination of value, safety and style. Sorento began arriving in showrooms in early January as a 2011 model-year vehicle, and presents consumers with a well-equipped, well-appointed CUV with best-in-class power(3) suited perfectly for the fun, dynamic and discerning driver. Starting under $20,000(4) and completely redesigned for 2011, the all-new Sorento employs a unibody design with the ability to comfortably fit up to seven passengers and will be the first vehicle to feature UVO.(5)
The Sorento launch is the largest rollout in KMA's history, with Sorento currently featured on KMA's first-ever billboard in the legendary Times Square advertising arena.
-- Marketing: KMA is bringing exciting and enabling vehicles directly to customers where they work, live and play through a number of expansive marketing efforts that engage and invite customers to personally experience, gain familiarity and interact with Kia vehicles. Such marketing efforts included a multi-tiered approach to reach and engage Gen Y (18-30 year-olds) for the introduction of the all-new Soul urban passenger vehicle in early 2009.
KMA also brought the Soul directly to consumers through interactive events and test-drive opportunities in a 10-city tour, launching the "Kia Presents The Soul Collective" program. The program mirrored the Kia Soul ad campaign's "a new way to roll" slogan by partnering with young and modern thought leaders. Brought together to form The Soul Collective, these thought leaders from different disciplines including music, film and design showed exactly "how they roll" through their respective mediums with exclusive content for Kia distribution online and at events. While primarily a viral and social media campaign attracting a wide range of media outlets, a major following for the national music tour included a micro ride and drive for free tickets to the shows, where top bands MGMT, Silversun Pickups and Plain White T's appealed to consumers and drove high event attendance.
Going on its third year as Exclusive Automotive Partner of the Vans Warped Tour, a 15-year-old, national summer music festival that travels to 41 cities nationwide, KMA became fully integrated with the Tour's online advertisements, on-site vehicle displays, activities and two consumer sweepstakes to drive traffic to all elements of the campaign to successfully reach key youthful audiences.
KMA also marked its third year as the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA and first year as Official Vehicle of the NBA (Sorento), KMA continues partnerships with 13 NBA teams for the 2009-2010 season for individual community relations efforts. Supporting local communities through programs that promote youth education and benefit residents is a priority for KMA and efforts will continue in 2010.
-- Motorsports: Introducing new and passionate audiences to the Kia brand, KMA took the wraps off of its U.S. motorsports program, racing the all-new 2010 Kia Forte Koup. KMA has teamed with the Kinetic Group to build and campaign two Forte Koups in the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series in the Street Tuner (ST) class, a natural fit with its performance-inspired styling and capable driving dynamics. Decorated drivers Nic Jonsson and Andy Lally have been secured to drive the #10 Infinity Kia Forte Koup entry in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Challenge Series in 2010 with Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood, past Continental Tire ST champions, to pilot the second #12 team race car.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 670 dealers throughout the United States. For 2009, KMA recorded its 15th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share and recently achieved its best quarter of sales ever. Kia Motors subscribes to a philosophy of building high value, high quality, safe and dynamic vehicles. Kia Motors prides itself on producing vehicles that are exciting and enabling and evoke the Kia tagline "The Power to Surprise."
Kia Motors America is the "Official Automotive Partner of the NBA." Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its Web site – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.
- KMMG vehicles are built with U.S. and globally sourced parts.
- Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
- Best-in-class power with V6 engine only.
- Price is manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for 2011 Sorento base model, excluding $795 destination and handling fee, taxes, title. license, registration, options and retailer charges. Actual prices set by retailer.
- Available summer 2010.
SOURCE Kia Motors America