Setting the Bar High: Kia Vows to Be Premium Automaker by 2017

By Trevor Dorchies | May 23, 2012
Less than a decade ago, if you told someone you just bought a KIA vehicle, you may have gotten a funny look and even heard some snickering when you walked away. Now, KIA is one of the fastest growing automakers in the world and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. In the Korean automaker's latest step towards automotive world domination, KIA has vowed to become a premium brand by 2017. Speaking at the 2012 gathering of KIA dealers in Vancouver, Canada, KIA vice chairman Lee Hyung-keun told around 250 people, both from 100 dealerships from around the world and fellow company execs, that the automaker is aiming to move 2.21 million units overseas in 2012, an 8.3 percent increase from 2.04 million units from last year. To help further along its goal of global sales domination, KIA will advertise its products during Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, respectively. KIA is targeting 2017 for when it will enter the "first class brands" hierarchy according to Lee. Yet at the same time, KIA also made sure to let everyone know it's not seeking to compete with Lexus or Infiniti in the luxury market.
"Though Hyundai Motor is also an automotive brand for mass production to ordinary consumers, it has the goal of attaining a premium image," executive director Cho Won-hong said to Asiaone Motoring. KIA's announcement to become a premium brand comes on the heels of sister automaker Hyundai saying last month that it, too, will be rebranding its image in the coming years. This is a change from the automaker's original plan of focusing less on brand image and more on expanding its market share across the pond. Now KIA's new commitment to advertising and marketing of its entire lineup is a bit of a head-scratcher to say the least, as it's not known to publicize much more than the Optima and more recently, the Sorrento.'s take: What do you think of KIA's goal? Will it be joining its Japanese competitors as well as German Volkswagen and U.S. General Motors in world domination? Or setting itself up to expectations beyond its reach? Let us know in the comments below. Source: Asiaone Motoring
Mimi Schnapps
Mimi Schnapps

What a joke. I recently drove a Kia (and a Hyundai last year), and they were rubbish. Their exterior looks are great (much better than what's coming out of Japan at the moment), but inside they aren't that great. The driving dynamics are an interesting mix of "small car that feels bigger than it is" (which is not good), and "feels like a toy rather than a machine" (obvious not good, almost a mid-2000's Ford vibe if I may. I would stay away from Kias and Hyundais and go German if you're into details and the finer things in live (think VW passat, jetta, etc.) or if not, than I'd actuall go American. The new Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Cruze and others are miles ahead of these Kias, and are built better and feel nicer to drive.