NEW YORK, April 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- At the 2012 New York International Auto Show opening ceremony this weekend, Kia Motors America (KMA) joined forces with the Wounded Warrior Project, a national organization dedicated to providing help and raising public awareness for injured service members, to donate a 2012 Kia Soul hatchback to disabled veteran and United States Army Corporal Christopher Melendez. Melendez was injured in the line of duty while on routine patrol in Iraq by a "six pack shape charge" IED, resulting in severe leg and arm injuries. Working with the organizers of the New York International Auto Show, the Soul was modified to meet Melendez's specific day-to-day needs. This donation comes directly on the heels of Kia's donation to Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA's Operation Hero program in coordination with brand ambassador and professional women's golfer Michelle Wie.
"Kia Motors understands that it is not only important to show our commitment to the U.S. market through investment and job creation, but also to support the service men and women in our country's armed forces," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "The Wounded Warrior Project provides invaluable services to the men and women who have been injured in the line of duty, and it is an honor to donate one of our most popular vehicles to Corporal Melendez as a way to show our appreciation and support for those who have sacrificed so much."
The 2012 Soul, retrofitted by New York-based Bussani Mobility Team was modified specifically to allow Corporal Melendez to continue with his daily activities through modifications that assist when flexibility is limited. The modifications include a steering wheel device that allows him to turn the steering wheel using one hand, while maintaining complete control of the wheel and car at all times, however all alterations are easily removable to allow others who do not need them to drive the vehicle safely.
Kia's Unprecedented Growth
Kia Motors is one of the world's fastest growing global automotive brands; from 2009-2011 Kia launched more new vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, and under the guidance of chief design officer, Peter Schreyer, earned a reputation as an industry leader in automotive styling. Kia Motors America's full line of fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive cars and CUVs has earned critical acclaim and dramatically increased consumer awareness, perception and consideration for the brand. In 2011, KMA recorded its 17th consecutive year of market share growth, thanks in part to the largest increase of any major brand in perceived quality and the industry's highest brand loyalty ranking. Kia's U.S.-based manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia – KMMG – is responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 plant and supplier jobs and builds the company's two best-selling vehicles in the U.S. – the Sorento CUV and Optima midsize sedan. Kia's value and technology-laden 2012 model year lineup also includes the Sportage compact CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Optima Hybrid, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, all-new Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America 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 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.
 Based on 5-year cumulative growth between 12-month retail sales for periods ending February 2007 and February 2012 of all U.S. automotive brands.
 Source: Automotive Lease Guide Spring 2011 Perceived Quality Study
 Source: Experian Automotive Q2 2011 market analysis
 The Optima GDI (EX Trims and certain LX Trims only) and GDI Turbo are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.
SOURCE Kia Motors America