According to Kia Motors, the name "Kia" derives from the Sino-Korean words ki ("to come out") and a (which stands for Asia), it is roughly translated as arise or come up out of Asia or rising out of Asia.
South Korea's oldest car company, Kia was founded in 1944 as manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycles. In 1952, Kia changed its name from Kyungsung Precision Industry, and later built motorcycles, trucks and cars. Starting in 1986, in partnership with Ford, Kia produced several Mazda derived vehicles for both domestic sales in South Korea and exports into other countries. These models include the Pride (based on the Mazda 121) and Avella, which were sold in North America and Australasia as the Ford Festiva and Ford Aspire.
In 1992, Kia Motors America was incorporated in the United States. The first Kia-branded vehicles in the United States were sold from four dealerships in Portland, Oregon in February 1994. Since then, Kia expanded methodically one region at a time. Dealers in 1994 sold the Sephia, and a few years later the United States line expanded with the addition of the Sportage.
However, Kia's bankruptcy in 1997, part of the Asian financial crisis, resulted in the company being acquired in 1998 by South Korean rival Hyundai Motor Company, outbidding Ford Motor Company which had owned an interest in Kia Motors since 1986.
Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America (KMA) is the sales, marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 640 dealers throughout the United States. For 2008, KMA recorded its 14th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. Kia Motors subscribes to a philosophy of building high value, high quality, safe and dynamic vehicles. Kia Motors prides itself on producing vehicles that are exciting and enabling and evoke the Kia tagline “The Power to Surprise.”
Kia Motors America is the “Official Automotive Partner of the NBA.” Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its Web site – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. Kia Motors America (KMA) is the sales, marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a line of vehicles through more than 640 dealers throughout the United States. For 2007, KMA recorded its 14th consecutive year of record U.S. sales. Kia Motors America is the “Official Automotive Partner of the NBA.”