- A synthesis of “sports” + “portage”
- Successor to the widely popular Sportage
(SEOUL) June 16, 2004 - Kia Motors today officially announced the name of its new compact SUV ? the new Sportage (code named KM), which is planned to hit showrooms worldwide in second half of 2004.
Keeping the good name of its predecessor, which is a synthesis of the words “sports” and “portage,” the all new model is a 3-in-1 vehicle suitable for both city and off-road driving that boasts the exterior styling of an SUV, the sedan-like ride and handling of a passenger car, and the utility of a wagon.
The explosive popularity of the original Sportage, first introduced in 1993, enabled it to become Kia’s best-seller globally, with 559,000 units sold worldwide (95,000 units in the domestic Korean market and 464,000 units overseas).
Soon after first hitting the market, the Sportage grabbed the attention of the world’s automakers with its cutting-edge design. The Sportage has also proven its performance merits time and time again, having three times completed the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally that takes competitors on a 7,000-mile trek over every type of terrain imaginable.
Following a comprehensive review of name connotations, public opinion polls, and effectiveness as a global brand, Kia Motors came to the ultimate decision to keep Sportage as the name for its latest SUV.
In addition, Kia Motors plans to unify the different emblems that have been used in the domestic and overseas markets in conjunction with the release of this latest model in order to further strengthen its corporate brand identity.
“The soon-to-be-released new Sportage is completely different than its predecessor in nearly every respect,” said Kia Motors Senior Executive Vice-President and COO Yong-Hwan Kim. “But since an entirely new name sometimes runs the risk of failing to capture customers’ attention, we have decided to continue to use the Sportage name in consideration of the brand power that it has accumulated over the years in many markets across the world.”
Having been a driving force of the domestic Korean RV market, Kia Motors has firmly set its sights on making even greater inroads into the global market with its all new 5-passenger SUV equipped with a 2.7 or 2.0 gasoline engine or a 2.0 diesel engine.
“Designed as a compact SUV to satisfy sophisticated consumer tastes in the major export markets of North America and Western Europe, the new Sportage offers modern refinement and neo-sensual styling, an ideal ‘fun to drive’ size, advanced common rail diesel engine technology and state-of-the-art safety features,” added Mr. Kim.
Founded in 1944 and now celebrating its 60th anniversary, Kia Motors Corporation (www.kiamotors.com) is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of automobiles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia is among the world’s fastest growing automobile companies and aims to be a top five global automaker by 2010. Kia’s 15 manufacturing and assembly operations in 12 countries make more than a million vehicles a year that are sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 190 countries. Kia today has 30,000 employees and annual revenues of $12 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an international sponsor of the Davis Cup.