Kia Motors Marks its 10th Year in Canada



    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - Kia Canada Inc., a maker of quality
vehicles for the young at heart, marks its 10th year since first arriving in
Canada in 1999. In that time, more than a quarter million vehicles have been
sold across the country, and the company has grown to employ hundreds of
Canadians through its dealer network, company headquarters in Mississauga and
4 regional offices.
    Kia Canada Inc. is a subsidiary of Kia Motors Corporation. Founded in
1944, it is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. The word Kia, is
derived from Chinese origins, meaning "arise or to come out of Asia".
Dedicating itself to personal mobility, the first items produced were bicycles
and bicycle parts, followed quickly by scooters and motorcycles in the 1950s
and early 1960s. As Korea's industry and economy grew, vehicles that supported
industrial growth were built that included the K-360 cargo vehicle and the
Titan, a robust cargo truck.
    In the early 1970s, Kia's expansion included the opening of the Sohari
plant, Korea's first fully integrated automobile production facility, and the
first internal combustion engine plant in 1973. The following year, production
of Korea's first passenger car began with the Brisa a compact sedan. By the
late 70s, the Sohari plant's increasing technological sophistication led to
partnerships that built vehicles for Peugeot and Fiat, in addition to vehicles
produced for the domestic market.
    In an effort to develop its own technologies and research, the Sohari
based Kia Research and Development Center was completed in 1984. By 1986, Kia
became an equity partner with Ford, and in 1987 began exporting Kia built
vehicles to the United States known as the "Festiva" in North America and
"Pride" in the Korean market. In the early 1990s, Kia opened a research center
in Tokyo, completed the Asan Bay manufacturing plant, and established Kia
Motors America in the United States in 1992.  In 1994, Kia celebrated its 50th
anniversary and began marketing cars and trucks in the United States, Latin
America, the Middle East, France, Germany and Italy. By 1995, Kia had produced
four million vehicles, and exported one million around the world.
    In 1997, two years before establishing itself in Canada, Kia became the
16th largest producer of cars and trucks worldwide, achieving annual
production of 750,000 vehicles, and exporting to more than 170 countries. The
following year, Kia merged with Hyundai to form the Hyundai-Kia Automotive
Group.
    Present day, as part of this group, more than 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 with
annual revenues of over US$14.5 billion and became the fifth largest
automotive manufacturer in the world in 2007.
    Kia is actively developing state-of-the-art eco friendly vehicles for
future commercialization. In 2005, Kia Motors opened the US$58 million
Eco-Technology Research and Development Centre (ETRC) in Korea, dedicated to
the development of cleaner, greener future transportation that is fully
compliant with global environmental regulations. Over the last four years, Kia
Motors has supplied the Korean government with 978 Rio hybrid vehicles as part
of this research and development. Additionally, Kia has over 30 years
experience in designing and mass producing diesel engines, and has been at the
forefront of producing efficient high speed direct injection diesel engines.
    Significant investments in the North American markets have resulted in
the opening of a $120 million dollar corporate headquarters and design center
in Irvine, California in 2008. The design centre features a state-of-the-art
100,000 square foot centre that allows up to eight vehicle models to be worked
on simultaneously, a milling shop, a three dimensional presentation room that
features clearstory windows to allow for viewing indoors under natural light,
a paint booth, a private outdoor viewing courtyard, a recreation room, a
research library, four conference rooms and a secure, underground garage.
Joining Kia in 2006, world renowned automotive designer Peter Schreyer's
designs will have a significant impact on the way the Kia brand is perceived
by consumers around the world.
    Later this year, Kia's first North American manufacturing plant,
featuring the latest technology and equipment, will begin production of Kia
vehicles in West Point, Georgia. Representing a billion dollar investment, the
plant is capable of producing 300,000 units per year.
    With fifteen employees at its begining, Kia Canada began operations in a
5,000 square foot facility in Mississauga, Ontario in early 1999. With just
over 1,400 vehicles sold that first year, Canadian sales increased nine fold
the following year to 13,373 as new dealers and supporting regional offices
were established across Canada. In 2005, Kia Canada moved into its current
headquarters in Mississauga, a facility with 175,000 square feet that includes
a national parts distribution warehouse, main offices and a showroom.
    Today, Kia Canada employs 134 people in its Mississauga and regional
headquarters in Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec and Halifax. Additionally, Kia's
growing dealer network employs over 1,500 people across Canada in 155
dealerships. With sales of 37,520 units in 2008, Kia Canada ended the year up
7.8% over 2007 sales, which marked 5 straight years of sales growth. In the
coming year, Kia Canada will be introducing three all new vehicles to its line
up, including the new Soul later this month.

    Kia Canada Inc. (http://www.kia.ca) - is a subsidiary of Kia Motors
Corporation (KMC) in Korea. Founded in Canada in 1999, Kia Canada Inc. sells
and services high quality class leading vehicles like the Rondo and Spectra
through a network of 155 dealers nationwide. Kia Canada Inc. employs 134
people in its Mississauga, Ontario headquarters and four regional offices
across Canada.





For further information:

For further information: Kia Motors Media Contact: Sixto Fernandez,
Public Relations Manager, e-mail: sfernandez@kia.ca

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