The following is the new year's address delivered by Kia President Kim Soo-Joong
at Kia headquarters in Seoul on January 2, 1999.)
My dear 40,000-strong Kia family-- A new morning has dawned with the Year of the
Rabbit, opening a future full of hope for us all. I wish you all a very happy new year
as well as health and prosperity for you and your families throughout the coming year.
In retrospect, 1998 was a year of indescribably-huge changes. Politically, it was the
first time in the 50 years since Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule that a
transfer of power took place between the ruling and opposition parties. Economically,
the nation came together to overcome the so-called "IMF era," an economic crisis
unprecedented in domestic history.
Amid this crisis, each corporation accelerated restructuring to survive, transforming
the fundamental structure of the national economy. The auto industry was no exception
in this whirlwind restructuring process. Coming through this crisis, our Kia has emerged
from 18 months of "birthing pains," pushing full-speed ahead with operational
normalization in 1999.
At this ceremony, I want to once again express my deep appreciation and thanks for
the efforts and sacrifices you--the members of the Kia family--have made. Now as
we put that pain and suffering behind us and harvest the important fruit of Kia's
normalization, I'm once again counting on you to demonstrate your commitment to
My dear Kia family-- 1999 will be remembered as the year when Kia started on the
road to normalization. Just a couple of weeks ago at my inauguration, I spoke
about beginning a new chapter in Kia history through a "second founding."
This "second founding" refers to taking full advantage of Kia's strengths and
compensating for its weaknesses with the goal of returning Kia to profitability
within two-to-three years. And a rebirth with world-class competitiveness and
value that are Kia's alone. With the turn of the century at hand, we have chosen
two major business objectives for 1999 to help begin this new chapter: a
transition to an extended sales organization which involves every employee,
and the pursuit of breakthroughs in business structure.