By on January 15, 2021

Kia

Kia, no longer content to occupy the second tier among carmakers, yesterday held a virtual press conference to announce their plans for world domination.

Image: GM
Dropping Motors America from their name was the first indicator, as the company now known as just Kia moves forward. We reported the other day on Kia’s new logo, a bold move like Nissan made a few months ago with its logo revamp, and coincidentally days before General Motors dropped the Mark of Excellence that has served them well for decades in favor of a new, rather flaccid logotype.

Of course, changing your name requires something to back up your play, and Kia didn’t disappoint, creating a new tagline, ‘Movement That Inspires’, to perhaps inspire you to look at its vehicle lineup in a completely different way than you may have previously.

Kia

The presentation started with comments from average people on the street about Kia if your street happened to be in Seoul or Southern California. The agency who put the reel together didn’t appear to have gathered opinions from the heartland, nor those from deep in the heart of Texas for that matter. Whether that would invalidate the feelings expressed about who and what Kia is debatable, although they lacked the sort of passion you get when asking Android or Apple, country versus rock.

Kia

The most salient point came late in the presentation, with less fanfare than that surrounding the total brand redesign that Kia is launching. No, the proclamation that Kia will introduce seven new EVs by 2027 was the highlight of the show, followed by shadowy images of vehicles, more or less still lumps of clay in the design center at this point in time.

What Kia spent to light up the night with drones equipped with fireworks to illustrate the new logo is anyone’s guess, but it was significant enough to warrant another mention at the top of the show. Too bad there were no fireworks surrounding the seven new EVs.

[Images: Kia]

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32 Comments on “Kia Seeks World Domination...”


  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I’d like to say the new logo is an improvement but.. it does not inspire me to go beyond it and look at their vehicles. As for GM, they got rid of excellence ages ago so the new logo works. Looks as if it was intended for the Chinese market.

  • avatar
    johnnyz

    423000 kia/ hyundai recalled for bad con rod bearings.

    Before you try to be a world class brand learn to build an engine first.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I think it’s over 1 million, and technically it’s not the bearings’ fault. It’s the chips left in the 2.0T and 2.4 crankshafts by their 3rd party supplier, which H/K should have caught.

      A black eye, indeed. But it also seems to be focused around the heavy ramp up to the big 2011 model line upgrade they did – haste makes waste, lived out.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Is that any worse than 6 million and counting recalled for a bad fuel pump in the case for Toyota?

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        I think I would rather change out a fuel pump than bottom-end engine components [not sure; haven’t done it on these vehicles].

        Toyota has big recall numbers (when they have a recall) because they have large numbers of vehicles on the road.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          With the H/K engines, the repair was a swap of the short block if the dealer caught it in time (via acoustic signature test, or oil sample), and likely a swap of the long block if it failed on the road.

          Those engines were throwing rods out the side, which sends the piston into the valves and/or the crank. I know several people who had the problem, and I saw blown engines stacked like cordwood behind my local Hyundai dealer a couple years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        I kind of see bd2’s point. Many people who drive cars might not know the difference between an engine and a fuel pump, thus making a number like 6 million seem it is a lot worse than it really is. People like this open up their checkbook and buy another when their car breaks and is undrivable.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    So, KIA is seeking world domination.

    The way things are going at FCA-PSA, Nissan, and GM, KIA only needs to add a pickup or two with its SUVs to capture the North American market. As for Toyota, the “angry cat” face on its vehicles is getting very stale. Also, I’m hearing about a few issues with quality as well.

    As for South America, I’m sure Ford, FCA-PSA and a few others would be glad to sell their Latin America operations for a song and a dance. However, the swings in this market can be legendary and not worth the capital required.

    As for Europa, GM had the smarts to pack up and leave the village square. Only growth is in the old Warsaw Pact countries. The margins in Western Europe are razor thin. Might be some volume in Putin Land, but there is always the KGB to keep you motivated.

    India has huge potential, but GM also left town several years back. Suzuki’s got a large chuck of the market and I doubt it’s going to let go without a fight. And remember, Toyota tried a joint venture with Suzuki in India several years back which imploded in less than 18 months.

    China isn’t the Golden Goose it once was. Joint ventures with local partners are required (sans Tesla). And many of the Euro, Nippon, and North American brands are not doing as well as they once were. The local brands are gaining steam and the country is embracing EVs at a accelerated rate.

    CEOs seeking world domination are delusional.

    My advice to KIA is to pick your fights carefully. Even Toyota understands this!!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      This is a major reason why the average age of vehicles on the road is increasing. It’s cheaper to keep repairing an old car than buy a new one with expensive problems.

      The old rule that if the repair is X fraction of the value, buy another, is out the window. I’ve seen one guy with a 20 year old car spend over 100% of the value to keep it in good running order – it’s still cheaper than a new car, and any defects have been sorted out.

      There used to be complaints that a new car was just sheet metal, it was the same running gear underneath, but that was just a blessing in disguise. Parts were plentiful and cheap, and most mechanics have done the repairs before.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    And I for one welcome our new automotive overlords.

    All hail KN.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I like the new Kia logo better than the new GM one but I would stay away from both. I like the Kia product lineup but with bad engines and some other issues I would rather pay a little more for a Toyota, Honda, or Mazda. With better quality Kia and Hyundai could be a real threat to GM and Ford especially if they offered pickups. Both Kia and Hyundai have improved the looks and the interiors of their vehicles but they need to make better quality drivetrains.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    The author of the Tremor F350 review called it a brodozer.

    These are brodozers.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Start with building better cars. Why is it that the rental Kias always feel the most used up of any of the manufacturers?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I will say companies or personages tend to switch up names/logos etc when their brand equity or reputation has become to damaged. By that logic GM should have gone Tron several times by now so they are no surprise, but for KIA its probably overdue by a few years. Didn’t they also have the power to surprise too or was that something else? Surprise! We changed our logo so you can embrace KN and in a few years it will be K90000000.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    You can rearrange the letters of MOVEMENT THAT INSPIRES to spell:

    – HESITANT IMPROVEMENTS

    – EMINENT HAMSTER PIVOTS

    – INEPT HAMSTERS MOVE TIN

    So there is that…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The logo never influenced any of my vehicle purchases.

    Heck I still prefer the 1950 Ford red, white and blue heraldic crest to the blue oval.

    And the Cadillac logo with the ‘ducks’. I still have an original leather jacket with that logo which GM included with some new Caddies.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Remember when Ford took the oval off the Glass House, and then put it back?

      https://tinyurl.com/y5knll9y

      [And then that other time that they had some help:]
      https://tinyurl.com/yxtuasgj

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The heraldic crests on the pre-oval Fords and past Cadillacs were real logos. Stylizing the name of the company is not a logo. The Toyota logo is a stylized letter T, not the name of the company. That’s still spelled out in plain letters.

      The new Kia logo just messes up the name identification. The new lower case General Motors logo can easily be interpreted as the company being a hollow shell of the industrial giant it used to be.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve S.

        “The Toyota logo is a stylized letter T, not the name of the company. That’s still spelled out in plain letters.”

        Look at it again. You’ll see all the letters of TOYOTA incorporated in that stylized T.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    the new “gm” we use to be the big “GM” a Global Leader but now we are barely a shadow of our former selves. Next logo is just “g” since it is more costly to ad the “m”.

  • avatar
    bd2

    The headline is a bit hyperbolic; don’t think “world domination” will be attained any time soon (much less at all), but Kia (with Hyundai) should continue to increase market share in most markets (sans China).

    At least in the near-term, the upcoming BoF pickups and SUVs for H/K will do more to increase sales/market-share than the BEVs.

  • avatar
    RHD

    The old logo meant “GENERAL MOTORS”.

    The new logo means “gram”.

  • avatar
    DOHC 106

    I own a 2007 kia optima 2.4 automatic and I agree with everyone especially as it relates to quality. I have learned alot about fixing cars since owning this one. As a comparison, my neighbors own a 2010 Toyota Prius and both of our cars have roughly 210k miles. The Prius had bad piston rings and a recall for the intelligent inverter for the battery. My main problem has been the pathetically weak suspension systems. I have spent alot more money on my car than theirs. Kia likes to brag about their so called quality, but thats based upon short term leases and ironically you don’t hear about 5 and 10 durability surveys like in the past. Maybe their rear drive models would do better, but their fwd models would fall apart. Kia only grew because of cheap prices relative to the competition, but overall their vehicles are too expensive and don’t have the quality engineering to command a premium. The Telluride may be an exception. Also none of the automakers are producing perfect cars either, but I would gladly take a Toyota over a Nissan despite the recalls.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’m a Kia partisan, but the evidence you’ve provided isn’t a resounding condemnation of the brand, nor a convincing endorsement of Toyota.

      After 11-14 years and 210k miles, I’d say all bets are off regarding vehicle durability and cost of ownership. Piston rings are not a cheap repair, and suspensions wear out. Driving differences have a cumulative effect, too.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      My cousin had a 2008 Optima, that was an off lease and has all maintenance records since new. At 135,000 miles out of nowhere the engine had no compression. He is very angry and refused to buy another Kia/Hyundai. He traded the Optima in for $300 with a certified receipt of “Junk” status and bought a used Honda civic. He refuses to buy another Kia/Hyundai and is pissed since his wife has a Chrysler with a CVT that is still running just fine with over 150,000 miles.

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