- Kia shares special occasion with selected customers and key philanthropic organizations
(SEOUL) March 24, 2005 -- Kia Motors today announced that it has reached one of the most significant milestones in its history, with the export of its five millionth vehicle -- a new Picanto bound for Italy. The milestone marks the latest stage in the evolution of Kia as a major player in the global automotive sector.
More than 250 guests -- including selected customers, representatives of key philanthropic organizations, major Kia distributors and senior management -- participated in a special ceremony at Pyeongtaek Port, outside of Seoul, to mark the send off of Kia’s 5 millionth export.
Mr. Eui-Sun Chung, President and CEO, Kia, said: “The achievement of reaching this historic milestone is shared between Kia Motors staff and management throughout the world, our valued distributors and dealers, and most importantly, our customers, without whom all this would not be possible.”
“In line with our brand slogan -- ‘The Power to Surprise -- we continue to surprise both our customers and the wider automobile industry with our continued product innovation and commitment to excellence,” said Mr. Chung.
Each of the lucky customers received the keys to a brand new Kia vehicle. In addition, Kia honored two philanthropic organizations -- the US-based Special Olympics and Oxfam from the UK -- for their commitment to the improvement of society, a focus that reflects Kia’s core values and sense of social responsibility.
The success of Kia’s export strategy is most evident in Europe, where Kia Motors has been the fastest growing auto brand for the last three years. Exports to European countries grew by 70.6%, from 155,229 units in 2003 to 264,872 units last year.
In the U.S., where the Kia brand has also made remarkable strides, exports saw a year-on-year increase of 31.4% to 301,573 units last year. In Central & South America, Middle East & Africa and the Asia Pacific, exports grew by 55.7%, 48.8% and 25.2%, respectively, in 2004.
“For a company that began making bicycle parts in a small factory outside of Seoul over sixty years ago, we have come a long way. Not only has Kia spearheaded the rise of the Korean automobile industry, but we have also made spectacular strides in overseas markets in recent years,” said Mr. Chung.
“Already this year we have premiered two more new models -- the totally redesigned Carnival MPV and the four- and five- door B-segment Rio -- which will give added momentum to our export success. We are now well positioned to take our place among the elite of the global automotive industry for years to come,” he said.
Kia Motors was on the path to becoming a major automotive force with the establishment of the Sohari plant in 1973, the first fully integrated automobile production facility in Korea. The Sohari plant heralded in the production of the Brisa pickup truck in 1974, which became Kia Motors first vehicle export a year later when 10 Brisas were shipped to Qatar.
Exports of Kia vehicles experienced a dramatic boom with the 1987 acquisition of a North American distribution network for the sub-compact Pride. This significant event set the stage for Kia’s continued rapid growth into a major global exporter.
Kia reached one million cumulative vehicle exports in 1995, two million in 1998, three million in 2001 and four million in 2004. Just one year after breaking the four million cumulative export mark, Kia is now celebrating its historic five million exports milestone in 2005.
Kia’s exports have grown rapidly since the company joined the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group in 1998. Since then, Kia has been on a mission to improve quality, strengthen overseas sales outlets, expand its product line-up and stabilize its business operations worldwide.
Editors’ Note: China plant production is also included in export totals.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kiamotors.com) -- the fastest growing automaker in the world -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. Kia’s 16 manufacturing and assembly operations in 13 countries produce more than 1.1 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 $14 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan -- “The Power to Surprise” -- represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.