Kia Plans to Ramp Up Quality Across Lineup, Not Production Output

By Jacob Brown | September 29, 2011
For all of the dominance Korean automakers have had over the last few years, Kia’s executives have mentioned that they’re not going to follow Toyota’s lead in sacrificing quality for quantity. Lee Sam-Ung, co-CEO of Kia Motors, said in Seoul that despite his brands brand’s rapid sales ascension, Kia is not planning to open more factories to lift weight off its overburdened existing plants. Instead, the Korean automaker will focus on the quality of its existing products. "Quantitative growth is important, but qualitative growth is also important. We plan to focus on improving product quality and our brand," Lee said at the introduction for the new 2012 Kia Rio in Seoul.
Lee noted that global car sales are expected to slow down, and Kia will not over-extend its reach to gain sales in a crumbling market. In the past, Japanese automaker Toyota has taken criticism that it cheapened the quality of its vehicles in its pursuit of becoming the world’s largest automaker. Those complaints reached a head in 2009 when the brand recalled a number of vehicles for issues including frame rust on new Tacoma pickup trucks and the sticking accelerator pedal in Camry and Corolla sedans. The Japanese automaker is just now recovering from its foibles. Kia is putting product ahead of production in its strategy, though. Despite its stated goals, the Korean automaker has stated that it plans to lift worldwide sales of the subcompact Rio from 110,000 last year to 260,000 in 2012. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)