Kia Corporation was founded in May 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. From humble origins making bicycles and motorcycles, Kia has grown – as part of the dynamic, global Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group – to become the world’s fifth largest vehicle manufacturer.
Today, Kia produces more than 1.4 million vehicles a year at 14 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries. These vehicles are sold and serviced through a network of more than 3,000 distributors and dealers covering 172 countries. The Corporation has more than 40,000 employees and annual revenues of more than US$17 billion.
In its ‘home‘ country of South Korea, Kia operates three major vehicle assembly plants – the Hwasung, Sohari and Kwangju facilities – plus a world-class research and development centre employing 8,000 technicians at Namyang and a dedicated environmental R&D centre. The Eco-Technology Research Institute, near Seoul, is working on hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles for the future as well as state-of-the-art end-of-life vehicle recycling technologies and processes. Kia spends 6% of its annual revenues on R&D and also runs research centres in the USA, Japan and Germany.
Kia Europe (KME) is the European sales, marketing and service division of Kia Corporation (KMC), based in Seoul, South Korea. With its purpose-built headquarters located in the heart of Frankfurt, Germany, KME’s staff is efficiently run and highly motivated. The company structure encourages individuals to make vital contributions to its operations and the multi-cultural dynamic is home to more than 26 different nationalities.
Kia’s European headquarters is also home to Kia’s Design Centre, which has contributed to making Kia a highly desirable brand in Europe, with products that have their own distinctive design signature.
Since 2003, Kia’s product range in Europe has expanded from covering just 35% of market segments to more than 80% today. That expansion has helped Kia’s European sales increase every year since 2008, achieving sales across Western and Eastern Europe of 385,000 units in 2015.
Costing € 1.6 billion to design and construct, Kia’s state-of-the art European manufacturing facility in Žilina, Slovakia, now caters for almost 54% of European demand for Kia’s extensive product range. Kia’s Žilina facility is home to European production of the best-selling Sportage crossover SUV, Venga compact MPV and cee’d model family (incorporating the cee’d five-door hatch, pro_cee’d three-door and cee’d Sportswagon).
The facility, which produced its first car – the cee’d – at the end of 2006, is capable of manufacturing more than 300,000 cars annually. In 2015, Kia proudly announced the production of the one-millionth cee’d model to roll off the Žilina production line. In the same year, the factory produced more than 100,000 units of the Kia Sportage, breaking the model’s annual production record.