Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Evolution of Kia Motors


Kia Motors has come a long way since its inception. The 800-acre Kia Motors plant, overlooking the Yellow Sea, has scant evidence of its notorious past that was almost about to ruin the company. Today, the company’s workers break into soccer matches in the company’s artificial turf fields who were once routinely on streets, demanding for job protection and protesting against the management’s hasty decision. What more, the company now has its own cafĂ© at the center of the factory floor, a company hospital, and fire station just a few steps away from the factory entrance.
South Korea’s Kia Motors plant has improved over the decades, all credits to the innovative initiatives that were taken in 2005 when the company started to design vehicles with cutting edge design keeping a low price tag. The company also took initiatives to promote their vehicles through youthful ads, firing weak dealers, and courting critics. With these few initiatives, Kia gained back its position in the market as they keep rolling out new models with advanced features with an amazingly low price tag, that only a few rivals could meet. Kia officials believe that providing customers with the comfort and features looking for with a low price tag has been the winning formula for Kia.

After a huge bankruptcy, the South Korean government coordinated a buyout in 1998 by automotive giant, Hyundai, and it has proved to be a rebirth for Kia.  At the moment, Hyundai has 34% stake and control over Kia. After buying out, Hyundai has taken several significant steps, to establish Kia in the world automotive platform.
In 2002, Hyundai-Kia automotive group produced 28 vehicle models on 22 platforms. The conglomerate is now planning to roll out 40 models by 2013 on just 6 platforms. Experts believe that the main factor for Kia’s success is its new improved look of its cars and trucks.
However, it would be wrong to assume that a new improved look is the only factor leading to Kia’s success in the automobile industry. Kia also knew that it had to work on dealers’ network to provide a better buyer’s experience. Thus it started canceling dealers who were identified as “weak or underperforming.” In 2010 alone, nearly one in five of Kia's 4,300 dealers outside South Korea were new, replaced or terminated.
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