2016 has been a very positive year for Kia Motors, taking away a number important awards and earning recognition here in Australia and a global scale. Among these includes the fact that Kia was named the leading car manufacturer according to the coveted industry’s J.D. Power Quality Survey and its inclusion in Interbrand’s 2016 Best Brand Report, coming in as the 69th most valuable brand in the world.
These feats indicate something of a changing ethos and design revolution for the brand that started upwards of a decade ago when Peter Schreyer – who was then known as the designer of the Audi TT – joined the company as Kia’s Chief Design Officer. This article will look at Kia Motors’ journey through this period and how it has become one of the most important brands not just in the car industry but in the world.
Refocusing The Design
In the past 5 plus years, Kia Motors have made an effort to form something of a design identity that defines their products. Many of the world’s biggest car manufacturers and brands in other industries are instantly recognisable and even relatable to customers because they have an established design aesthetic. Creating a unique face for the Kia brand that was carried through the range became an important goal for Peter Schreyer and his design team.
The sleek, sharp and modern look that is seen in Kia’s models today is the result of this and is said to have been inspired greatly by Korean design styles that are seen in various places including its architecture and art. As it happens, the iconic look that Kia has developed was quite an ambitious one, and these cars are arguably some of the most daring and futuristic, for lack of a better word, that we have on our roads.
Be that as it may, the design decisions have clearly paid off and the fact that Kia has been able to establish a new look has been a big part of its success as a brand today.
Catering to All
Once viewed almost exclusively as a manufacturer of small cars, Kia has managed to change this perception entirely, now catering to a wide range of car buyers. In the past, the majority of Kia vehicles were small and boring; inexpensive alternatives that you’d drive around for a few years before trading them in for something of higher quality.
As discussed, a radical design shift was instrumental in recreating the Kia brand through the latter parts of the 2000’s, however branching out and becoming more aware of the wider needs of customers in the market also played a big role.
While still performing well in the small car markets, Kia has released a number of awarding winning models in other areas, and the brand continues to extend its boundaries. The 2016 Kia Optima, a medium-sized sedan, claimed the International Car of the Year (ICOTY) award in 2016, the second time the Optima has won in four years. Meanwhile, the 2016 Kia Sorrento took away the International SUV of the year
Adding to that, on top of the success of Kia Sorrento, Kia Soul has just this week won the Best Buy Award from Consumer Guide Automotive. Kia is also at the cutting edge in terms of energy efficiency, with many advances being made in the areas of hybrid and electric cars.
Clever Sponsorship Decisions
Becoming a leading global brand not only requires the delivery of a quality, consistent product that appeals to the market. It’s also important to establish a strong brand image and identity. If you think of the biggest brands in the world, you can usually remember something about their advertising or marketing campaigns.
This has also played a big part of Kia’s rise, as the brand has made a concerted effort to expand its global visibility since the early 2000’s. It has established partnerships with some of the world’s biggest events and organisations including the Australian Open, FIFA and the World Cup, and the NBA. Since 2010, Kia has advertised during the NFL Superbowl. The brand has attached its name to some of the world’s biggest sporting events and this has no doubt contributed to its considerable growth through the past decade.
Kia global has transformed itself into one of the automotive industry’s biggest players and most recognisable brands, growing its market share considerably in the past 10 years and delivering a product that is no outshining its competitors. It will be interesting to see what is in store for Kia in the future how the brand grows and evolves moving forward.