Kia created the original Soul during a different time in the company’s evolution. It was before they hired Peter Schreyer to head their design function, and therefore when Kia was a design also-ran. The original Soul, while cute and funky, was really little more thank Kia’s take on the Honda Element, first-generation Scion xB, and Nissan Cube. A funny thing happened, though: the Soul is Kia’s third-best seller, and completely destroyed the xB and Element in sales for 2012. So, now that it’s time to refresh the Soul, Kia had to tread carefully. Meet the 2014 Soul, which looks a lot like the 2013 model. Continue Reading →
Free trade agreements are sometimes a tough sell with the public and politicians. On one hand, they open up new markets for a country’s goods; on the other, it also opens up that country to new import competition. Hyundai is learning this lesson in its home market of South Korea, where free-trade agreements have halved tariffs on imported vehicles, causing Hyundai Motor Group’s domestic sales (which comprise both the Hyundai and Kia brands) fall for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
It’s back to the drawing board for Hyundai’s marketing team. They can no longer boast of a lineup proliferated by 40 MPG cars, because after today’s news, there are none of them remaining. It seems that Hyuundai What’s more, Hyundai and Kia now have to apologize for the error, replace all mileage numbers on unsold cars, and reimburse owners for the lackluster mileage.
The Hyundai Veloster’s nontraditional styling, clever packaging, and cheeky driving dynamics impressed us when we first drove one earlier this year. Not quite a coupe, and definitely not a hatchback in the mainstream sense, the Veloster impressed us with its versatility and economy, as well as its ability to make an impact wherever it goes. Naturally, then, when Hyundai announced plans for a Veloster with the power to match its unique looks, our interest was piqued.
By Brendan Moore
My goodness, the hits just keep coming from Kia. Here we have the exuberant and pretty 2012 Kia Optima SX, a car that is sure to give serious heartburn to its competitors like the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
Why? Because it does things better than those cars, it’s less expensive and it’s much better-looking – in a nutshell. That’s why. No mystery here.
By Carl Malek
Kia has announced the final pricing of its 2012 Kia Rio and Rio5 models. Pricing for Kia’s smallest offering will begin at a wallet-friendly $13,600 for a base Rio LX 5 door equipped with the manual transmission. Customers who want an automatic transmission can expect to pay a slightly higher starting price of $14,700. At these price points, the 2012 model actually manages to achieve a much lower starting price than the former model that it replaces.
By Chris Haak
The midsize sedan segment is the true heart of the US market. Aside from full-size pickups, no segment in the US sells more vehicles than does the one that features such heavy hitters as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6, and…Kia Optima.
Wait. Kia Optima? You mean the one that looks like a 2001 Honda Accord?
By Chris Haak
About a year ago, Kia ventured into new territory with its first mainstream vehicle above the $30,000 line. The brand that was once proud to tout its Rio subcompact as the cheapest car sold in America was on its way upmarket, where the profit margins are fatter, where buyers don’t default to your vehicles
Fast forward a year later, and the 2011 Sorento has firmly established itself as Kia’s flagship vehicle in the US. Not only is it the most expensive Kia sold in the US, but it’s also the company’s best-selling vehicle, and the Korean automaker’s first US-built vehicle. From the 2011 Sorento’s launch in January 2010 through December 31, some 108,202 of the attractive crossovers found buyers. The next-best selling Kia was the Forte compact, which had 68,500 sales, or 37 percent fewer.
By Chris Haak
With the poaching of design head Peter Schreyer from Audi several years ago, Kia has turned itself from a brand that had no design identity to one that has a coherent language across its lineup, and that one drapes Kia vehicles in interesting and dynamic shapes. With the 2011 Optima and Sportage now on sale, Kia’s lineup has nearly been completely transformed from also-rans into competitively-styled vehicles.
While design is certainly a differentiator among new vehicles, and can catch the attention of buyers, it takes more than just good looks to establish and sustain success in a very competitive automotive landscape. Kia loaned me a 2011 Sportage for a week so I could find out if it also had beauty within, or if in fact its beauty was just skin deep.
By Charles Krome
I know it might seem a bit late to tackle the Super Bowl ads again, but there’s an interesting story about them in today’s Detroit Free Press that provides an inside look at the lengths to which some automakers go to get the most out of their efforts.
Here’s the deal according to journalist Chrissie Thompson: Almost as soon as the VW Passat/Star Wars ad hit the Internet (two days before the big game), it started to get people’s attention. And among those people were Joel Ewanick, GM’s global chief marketing officer, who has earned quite a reputation in the industry for his PR acumen. Ewanick apparently knew a good thing when he saw it, then showed exactly how he garnered that aforementioned rep. He had Chevy work a short-term deal with Google so that when folks searched certain intergalactically related terms—like “Darth Vader”—links to Chevrolet’s Super Bowl ads popped up at the top of the page. And then he did the same kind of thing with the phrase “Imported from Detroit” after the Chrysler 200/Eminem ad broke.
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