Aside from the traffic jams and subways, much of Paris looked chained to some point of time in the seventeenth or eighteenth century. The morning of September 29th had arrived at last, a day that had been long anticipated by automakers and car fanatics around the world for this was when the doors would finally open to the Paris Motor Show. The show venue was located near the Port de Versailles station on the No. 12 subway line and despite the city’s gargantuan size, it was easy enough to find thanks to the abundant signs and maps along that dotted our journey. The venue was portioned into eight display areas: the first was the domain of the U.S. and European makers, the second was home to the media center, insurance companies, automotive publishers and accessory manufacturers. Korean and Japanese carmakers set up their displays in the third area while the fourth one featured manufacturers of auto parts and specialty cars. Separate areas were also set aside for the performance tuning market, minicars/commercial vehicles and interactive cyber displays. In terms of visual impact, the U.S. and European displays were the most outstanding. A stunning, futuristic space theme provided a unifying element to the numerous individual booths which featured a variety of attractions and special events produced on a scale that were simply breathtaking. Capped by its large red oval logo, the Kia Motors booth, located in the third display area, was an impressive sight despite its more modest budget. The interior design was simple and elegant while the layout was airy and inviting. A press conference was held on September 29 to announce the European launch of the Sephia II compact sedan and the mid-size Magentis sedan. The welcoming address was presented by Mr. Thfoin, head of Kia’s French distributor. “Since its merger with Hyundai Motor in December 1998, Kia has made impressive strides by increasing investment into the development of more new products,” he said. “The company has witnessed a sales growth of more than 109 percent in the minivan and subcompact sedan segments,” he noted. “It’s noteworthy that the Carnival and the Sportage outsold some of the top European and Japanese models and have joined the list of the 30 best-selling models in France,” he added. Next, Youm Young-Kil, head of Kia’s East European Regional Headquarters, introduced the Magentis and Spectra, offering a summary on features and specifications. “Kia will produce more competitive cars that will meet the fast changing needs of the customer and the market environment,” he promised. “Customer satisfaction is the name of the game and to better satisfy our customers, our dealers will have to be more aggressive in their marketing strategies and will have to step up their after-sales service,” he concluded. The consensus among visitors was that the 2000 Paris Motor Show was a significant event in that it not only provided a wealth of stylish, new products but also strengthened public faith in the high growth potential of alternative fueled vehicles and high-performance cars in this new millennium. Judging by the enthusiastic turnout for the show, all participants are expected to return next year to this prestigious international motor show as it provides an invaluable opportunity to gauge public response to new products.