5 Kia Facts You May Not Be Aware Of

November 21st, 2023 by

Thanksgiving is just a few days away – a time for giving thanks, for a third serving of sweet potatoes, and perhaps most crucially, for figuring out what conversation points you want to bring to the dinner table. Based on the makeup of your family, this could be one of the trickier parts of your to-do list.

Here at Steven Kia, we can’t confirm or deny whether the effects of tryptophan are in fact overblown. But we can have you regaling the family with five little-known facts about Kia, the one-time bicycle shop that has evolved into one of the most prestigious auto manufacturers in the world.

The Name Game 

Kia’s name derives from a pair of Sino-Korean characters that translate to “arise” and “Asia.” Thus, Kia itself roughly translates to “Rising from Asia.” Kia has indeed risen from their humble beginnings, as they currently stand as the second largest automobile manufacturer in South Korea, trailing only their parent company Hyundai. In 2019, Kia posted sales figures of over 2.8 million vehicles. 

It’s not often that three simple letters are able to say so much, but Kia is the proud exception that’s able to convey inherent automotive excellence in just two syllables. 

Started on Two Wheels 

Founded on June 9,1944 as Kyungsung Precision Industry, Kia started out as manufacturers of steel tubing and bicycle parts. The company’s first breakthrough, in 1951, was the Samchuly – Korea’s first domestic bicycle. 

In the next year, Kyungsung Precision Industry changed its name to Kia Industries. Shortly after that, they started focusing on making cars, and in 1957 began creating motorcycles under a Honda license and trucks under a Mazda license in 1962. Kia’s inaugural fully-integrated vehicle assembly plant, the Sohari Plant, opened its doors in 1973.

Military Truck Manufacturing 

Back in the early 1980s, Kia shifted gears into military equipment production when a military coup hit the South Korean government, causing major industrial manufacturers to pivot towards military manufacturing. Kia temporarily paused consumer vehicle production to focus on crafting military trucks.

Even though Kia has since pivoted back to consumer automobiles, they have maintained their military commitments in one form or another. Today, they continue to provide trucks to the South Korean military.

Explosive Debut for the New Logo 

When Kia announced its new logo in 2021, it was meant as a companion to its rhythmic new slogan “movement that inspires.” Although the logo was met with a bit of backlash (it’s not “KN,” no matter how many times your eyes try to tell you otherwise), you wouldn’t know it based on the intricate ceremony Kia held to unveil it. In conjunction with the announcement, Kia celebrated with a unique fireworks show that displayed the new Kia logo in the sky.  

Debate about the logo may continue – at least as it eases into adolescence – but you can’t deny that Kia kicked off the new era with a bang. In fact, Kia set a new Guinness World Record during the unveiling for “most unmanned aerial vehicles launching fireworks simultaneously.” 

The Pope is a Fan 

The Vatican may be in the midst of making the switch to electric, but if the Pope had his way, Kia would probably be his ride of choice. Pope Francis has been known to frequently travel in a Popemobile-outfitted Kia Soul. Contrary to what you might think, the Popemobile is not a fixed vehicle – it changes manufacturers and models throughout the year. But in the Kia Soul, the Pope may have found his preference. 

Be a Part of Kia’s Future 

While Kia’s past is littered with interesting factoids, its future is still waiting to be written. With their recent focus on sustainability, hybrids, and EV’s, electric seems to be the path forward for the enterprising company. But regardless of which direction the company chooses to travel, there’s a place for you in Kia’s future. 

At Steven Kia, we’ve got everything you need to drive into the new year in style. Whether you’re looking to buy new or used – or are in the market to sell your vehicle – Rocktown’s premier Kia dealership is here to book you a spot in Kia’s continued, illustrious history.