History of KIA



KIA Motors is famous for manufacturing noteworthy models, such as the KIA Soul, KIA Carnival, and KIA Rio, which have gained immense trust and respect in the automobile market. The automotive manufacturing enterprise is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.

KIA Motors Corporation ranks second in the count for the largest automobile manufacturers in the South Korean region, after Hyundai Motors. Hyundai Motors happens to own an approximately 33.88% stake of KIA. KIA, too, similarly holds stakes in many of Hyundai’s subsidiary business efforts.

What does KIA mean?

KIA Motors has stated that it found its name from the Sino-Korean characters “ki,” meaning “to arise” and “a” which notes “East Asia.” Together, it roughly translates to “Rising from the East.”

Origin Story

Formerly called Kyungsung Precision Industry, KIA Motors was founded in the year 1944. It was a steel tubing and bicycle parts manufacturing firm at the time. In fact, the company produced Korea’s first domestic bicycle, the Samchully.

In 1952, the company finally came to identify itself as KIA Industries. It started manufacturing more heavy-duty vehicles in 1957 with its small Honda-licensed motorcycles. In 1962, it produced Mazda-licensed trucks, and in 1974, released its first offering of cars.

In 1973, the company began the operation of its first integrated automotive assembly plant – the Sohari Plant. Until 1981, KIA manufactured the small range of Brisa cars until it was forced to stop passenger car production under military dictator Chun Doo-hwan’s new policies of industry consolidation.

When it rejoined the automotive manufacturing industry in 1986, it did so with a partnership with Ford. KIA began producing many Mazda inspired vehicles for sale around this time inside and for export purposes outside South Korea.

KIA declared bankruptcy in 1997 with the Asian financial crisis, which is when Hyundai Motors acquired a dominant stake in the company. Currently, Hyundai only owns a 1/3rd stake in KIA Motors, and we all know how this resilient automotive company has been churning out commercially viable vehicles for profitable sales every year.

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