- Kia to leverage locally-built Forte to foster premium image and strengthen brand presence in Chinese market - Marketing activities include road shows, test drives and dynamic showrooms to best C-segment competitors
(SEOUL) June 18, 2009 - Kia Motors' latest addition to its extensive line-up, the C-segment Forte (known as 'all-new Cerato' in some countries), was introduced to the local Chinese market today at the Nanjing International Expo Centre at its official launching ceremony in front of 600 guests. With its refined design and cutting-edge features, localized specifically for the Chinese market, the Forte will target the high-end C-segment market where its success will rely heavily on design.
The Forte is a strategic model for the brand globally but has special significance in China where Kia vehicles have seen a 13.5% growth, year on year (through May). "When the Forte made its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show back in April," said Jong-Ok Park, Dongfeng Yueda Kia President, "It received rave reviews from local media for its segment-leading commercial value, dynamic styling, ample interior space and superior convenience features that surpass the local market's expectations."
The local model will be sold under the name Fu-Rui-Di, which combines the Chinese characters for luck, auspiciousness and advance. The name alludes to a car designed for those who lead the road to success. Its pronunciation is also similar to the English name 'Forte.'
Incorporating localized elements into its vehicles is one of Kia's mandates to satisfy consumer tastes in the markets in which it serves. The model will be produced locally at one of two plants jointly owned by Kia Motors and Dongfeng Yueda in the Jiangsu province.
Local preferences have been reflected in the exterior and interior designs of the Forte, along with its convenience features. The exterior has been revamped to include newly designed large fog lamps; the head lamps, rear lamps and radiator grille have also adopted a more striking appearance. In the interior, chrome finishings were adopted to the center fascia and main switches. High-lustre metal grain has been generously used to satisfy Chinese consumer tastes for sophisticated styling.
The Forte is Kia's first model for the Chinese market to feature the eco-driving system that color-codes driving patterns to help drivers maximize their gas mileage. This is in response to the growing interest among drivers for fuel-efficient vehicles. The car's commercial appeal is further enhanced with the addition of a push start ignition smart key, SupervisionTM gauge cluster and auto cruise control. Information on the instrument cluster and audio screen are all displayed in Chinese, instead of English.
Forte is powered by a 1.6L Gamma engine or 2.0L Theta engine in China where the majority of C-segment vehicles are equipped with 1.6L or 1.8L engines. This makes the Forte the most powerful model among competitors, including the Volkswagen Jetta, Buick Excelle, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Tiida.
With the new Forte, Kia Motors plans to establish itself as an affordable premium automaker and a leading brand in China. As such, the company plans to hold large-scale road shows and test drives in major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, to give local consumers their first-hand experience at the superior quality of the Forte.
In addition, exclusive showrooms will be set up in all Kia Motors dealerships so potential buyers can witness Forte's sophisticated design, while special halls will be created for visitors to review the car's newest technologies, such as the eco-driving system.
An ad featuring Lin Dan, the gold medalist in badminton at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will also be aired across the nation to promote Forte's dynamic and progressive image in China's largest, and most competitive, C-segment.
### Editor's Note: Forte running footage (US spec) available at The NewsMarket (www.thenewsmarket.com/kiamotors). You can get broadcast-standard or streaming-quality video (for Web use) and print-quality stills. Delivery options include digital FTP transfer and streaming download in a variety of file types including Flash, MPEG-2, QuickTime and Windows Media. Registration and content is free to the media.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com) -- a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart -- 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. Nearly 1.5 million vehicles a year are produced in 13 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 172 countries. Kia today has over 40,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of over US$14.5 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA -- the governing body of the FIFA World Cup -- as well as a EUROTOP partner of UEFA. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan -- "The Power to Surprise" -- represents the company's global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.