Founded in 1944 as Kyungsung Precision Industry, Kia adopted its current name in 1951. In the west, Kia made its name with cheap Mazda-based vehicles, which were both marketed under its own umbrella, as well as being affixed with the Ford oval. It is now, along with Mazda, the east’s most reliability design-led brand.

Thanks to the Asian financial crisis, in 1997 it was forced into the arms of fellow Korean carmaker Hyundai. Today they operate as two separate companies, but with one R&D department.

What does Kia stand for?

Ki or gi in Korea means to come out, while the ah sound is representative of Asia. Taken together it translates roughly to coming out of Asia.



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