- Cheolima C-Car to supplement Kia`s existing product range in China
SEOUL November 6 2002 - Kia Motors Corporation will launch the company`s first vehicle designed exclusively for the Chinese market on November 18, 2002. The Cheolima - the name comes from a Chinese expression for a horse with exceptional speed and stamina - is being built by Dongfeng-Yueda Kia Motor Company Ltd., a joint venture company established earlier this year.
Kia chief operating officer Mark Juhn said, "The Cheolima marks the first stage in Kia`s strategy to dramatically increase its presence in the Chinese market. China will shortly be one of the largest automobile markets in the world, and Kia will take full advantage of the fact that this enormous opportunity is right on our doorstep. We plan to sell half a million cars in China by 2010, which will put us in a good position to take our place within the ranks of the world`s top five automobile manufacturers."
Available in three trim levels, the Cheolima is a four-door saloon with a choice of a 1.3 and a 1.6 gasoline engine. A five speed manual transmission is standard and an automatic gearbox is available for the top two trim levels.
The Cheolima is designed to cope with the wide extremes of climate and terrain in China, with reinforced suspension, brakes and climate control systems. Around 300 parts and components were designed especially for the Chinese market.
5,000 units of the new car will be produced this year with a production of 50,000 scheduled for 2003. The Cheolima compliments the Pride small car, which is currently being assembled in China on a knock-down basis. 70% of the Cheolima`s parts will be sourced locally, compared with the Pride`s 72%.
Dong-Feng Yueda Kia Motor Co. Ltd. is a joint venture company established in 2002 with startup capital of $70 million (50% Kia, 25% Dong-feng, 25% Yueda). Located in Jiangsu, the company received approval from the Chinese government to build the Cheolima in July 2002 and plans to introduce more Kia vehicles in the next few years to expand the product range. A new plant which began development this year will raise total capacity in China to around 500,000 by 2010.
Mr Juhn adds, "The new plant that we are constructing in China will be the finest facility of its type in the country, with international-standard production capacity and placing Kia in a very strong position in this important market."
Founded in 1944, Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.co.kr) is Korea`s oldest manufacturer of automobiles. A part of the Hyundai Automobile Group, the company currently exports around 600,000 vehicles per year through a network of distributors that covers 160 countries. Kia Motors is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open.