By on May 1, 2008


Kia wants to cut back on its reliance on ye olde cash on the hood and increase its brand awareness in the U.S. To that end, the Korean automaker is launching a new ad campaign today that "continues to emphasize the thriftiness of its product line in times of escalating gas and food prices." BrandWeek reports that one ad shows a Kia Spectra in front of a gas station while a narrator proclaims: "Now, more than ever, you want to get the most for your money." And an ad for the Kia Sportage claims the CUV is priced "about $6,000 less than the Toyota Rav4 Limited; or, to put it another way, a whole year worth of groceries less." Kia's marketing director is suitably upbeat about the downbeat American economy. "It's not all doom and gloom; in fact we believe the opposite," says Tim Chaney. "People are still shopping for cars, albeit less than before, and we are in a good spot." Chaney took over as marketing maven back in February when his predecessor, along with CEO Len Hunt, "were let go." Time will tell if this new team can pull Kia's image out of the background noise.

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17 Comments on “Kia Wants to Increase Its Brand Awareness...”

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    Isn’t Kia what Hyundai used to be, before Hyundai tried to be Toyonda? Or am I brand unaware?

  • avatar

    please…..what does it say about a car when it is a poor mans Hyundai. Hyundai has to raise its brand image (which they are atempting to do) before anyone will see Kia as anything more than a cheap cash on the hood brand. Kia and Suzuki reside in the same place from my POV.

  • avatar

    In case you missed it, here’s a background article from Businessweek: My Way or the Highway at Hyundai [USA] (Kia’s parent)

  • avatar

    Kia is a mistake. Hyundai should have all it’s efforts behind it’s own Hyundai brand. They have the same problem GM has with Chevrolet and Saturn, Buick and Pontiac, Chevy Trucks and GMC.

  • avatar

    This seems a case of putting the cart before the horse. They have awareness. What they need is a stronger brand that solves the core problem consumers have with their brand—poor products that become shoddy looking quite rapidly. This makes for low consumer satisfaction and low re-sale values. Even at their price point, they need to make a better, more reliable cars that still looks good farther into the ownership cycle.

  • avatar

    Every time I see that logo, I think cheap, crappy car. It’s superficial, I know, to base so much on the logo. But it’s true. Even Hyundai’s is better than that.

  • avatar

    Hyundai bought Kia back in 98 when Kia filed for Bankruptcy. Since then they have gone down the rebadging route that GM and Ford did and they are starting to pay for it in sales and perception I think.

    The flip side of that coin is Kia’s vehicles have improved in the fit and finish and quality aspect, however they are still trying to shake the image they earned themselves from the stuff they were making prior to Hyundai acquiring them and rebadging their models.

    The latest generation Optima is the first break from this since Hyundai converted everything over to their platforms that is not a badge engineered Sonata. They are supposedly working on other models with this, but I haven’t seen much progress outside of that model.

    The Sedona is the best thing on Kia’s lot at the moment. Hyundai rebadges that into their line-up instead of the other way around.

  • avatar

    My wife’s Sedona is awful. They can’t even make decent windhield glass. This vehicle regularly makes several of the industry’s worst used car lists.

  • avatar

    Mullholland :
    May 1st, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    My wife’s Sedona is awful. They can’t even make decent windhield glass. This vehicle regularly makes several of the industry’s worst used car lists.

    That must be the old, Kia-developed Sedona (aka Carnival in other markets – it debuted elsewhere around ’98 or ’99). Yes, it’s unreliable and has little going for it other than low resale (which is either good or bad, depending on your point of view).

    The 2006+ Sedona and 2007+ Entourage (Hyundai’s version) are excellent vans. I’ve driven quite a few minivans, and though I don’t feel they beat Honda’s Odyssey in anything but stuff-for-money value, they’re vastly better vehicles than the Nissan Quest, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler crapboxes.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Sorry, but Kia has been such a poor quality vehicle that 99+% of the trade-in’s to the Carmax’s around the country have less than 150k. Over 85% have less than 100k.

    This is in nice stark contradiction to Toyota and Honda (30% more than 150k) and Lexus and Acura (35% more than 150k).

    People keep a durable well-made car. Kia has not proven itself as a quality automaker. Overall they are THE bottom dweller along with Land Rover.

  • avatar

    They need a hot little performance car that would make people take notice. Penalty box economy cars with a 1980 flare and flavor are never going to get anyone’s attention.

    Kia continuing to sell the same `ol dull and bland cars they always have; what’s going to change? I guess they like their flat sales. They have no desire to ever be the number one auto manufacturer in the world. What are they; last place? They suck. Always have, always will. F `em.

    What’s it take to give them any motivation?

  • avatar

    The new Kias have improved and still have ways to go. It is nothing but a re badged Hyundai which is not a bad car. The Kia warranty covers parts until 60,000 Mi (ford, gm go to 32,000) then the “Extended Factory Warranty” to 100,000. I will completely agree with you any Kia prodcut before 2000 is garbage however the new “Kiadai” that you can buy right now is on par with the domestics quality, price, fit and finish. For example the Hyundai Beta 2.0L (4cy on Spectra, Tiburon, Elantra) puts around 132 HP to the crank, and is amazingly quiet and smooth at the 6000 RPM zone. The iron-block Korean four-banger is on Par with GM’s Ecotec and the Ford Ztec engine but not as smooth as a Honda VTEC or Toyo 4cy, however it only gets around 28 city and 32 highway. I recently rode in my a friends Kia Spectra and was amazed that it could do 95 and not fall apart so they are improving.

  • avatar

    If Kia offered a strippo version of the upcoming Elantra wagon, I’d be interested. Small wagons that are reasonably priced are difficult to find.

    I don’t really care about brands as far as prestige goes, but reputation for quality and durability is important to me, and there Kia comes up a little short.

  • avatar

    What’s Kia?

  • avatar


    Kia’s version of the Elantra wagon that is coming is called the Rondo. From what I can tell the Rondo and the Elantra wagon have the same wheelbase, but the exterior dimensions are slightly different.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    “I will completely agree with you any Kia prodcut before 2000 is garbage however the new “Kiadai” that you can buy right now is on par with the domestics quality, price, fit and finish.”

    I’m sorry but I haven’t found this to be the case at the auctions. Kias and Hyundais still have problems past the 100k mark and although there have been improvements, they’re not at the level of domestics when it comes to reliability and long-term ownership.

    One good lining in the clouds is the current Hyundai Sonata which is a very competitive product. Along with the Fusion, I would recommend it for someone looking for a midsized vehicle. Other than that both manufacturers are still on the low end when it comes to quality.

  • avatar

    I put 117k on my 2k Tiburon (bought in 99) before I traded it in and it was still going strong. I know a few people that have Accents and Elantras with more than that and they are running well.

    How many auctions do you typically see? I’m just curious as a person that has never been to one. We have a big one here in Ohio about 5 miles from where I work, but I don’t know if it is open to the public or not.

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