Kia benchmarking Volkswagen to become world’s best-loved car brand

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 18, 2011

Kia Motors Corp. is benchmarking Volkswagen as it seeks to be the best-loved vehicle brand in the world, according to the automaker's vice president Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee. Kia hopes to be a "people's brand" like Volkswagen, Lee told Automotive News Europe in an interview. He stated that to hit the target, the company is utilizing Volkswagen models as its standard for the development of new vehicles.

For the new Kia Cee'd compact vehicle that will go on sale next year in Europe, Kia's target "in terms of ride and handling is the VW Golf," Lee said.

He added that they want to be the "world's best-loved brand," which automatically translates into market share and sales volume. Kia is targeting an increase of its yearly worldwide vehicle sales to 2.8 million in 2014 from an anticipated 2.4 million this year, Lee disclosed.

This year, the company's international production will be more than 2.5 million automobiles, including Hyundai models that Kia manufactures in its facilities in Slovakia and the U.S. Kia will boost production in the U.S. from 280,000 to 360,000 vehicles next year and it also has formidable sales targets in the country.

Lee said Kia is targeting a record 500,000 vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2012 from an anticipated 470,000 this year. Kia will not increase production capacity too quickly, Lee said. The company learned from Toyota, which ran into quality issues as it broadened worldwide production swiftly to be the No. 1 international car maker.

Kia Motors Corporation once again thrilled participants during the 2010 New York International Auto Show as it unveiled the Kia Optima D-segment saloon. This latest offering is based on the new midsize platform which enables it to have unique proportions and dimensions. However it also gives the brand’s global design team a rather unique canvas within which to come up with a vehicle that is above the others in its segment. As it will be replacing the Magentis, the Optima, when compared dimension-wise, is longer and wider yet lower as well.

Kia Motors Corporation Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer declared that this model is the latest addition to the brand’s always evolving design DNA. The Optima is able to utilize fluid and simple lines and combine this with basic yet elegant shapes, he added. The goal is to catch the attention in the same manner as an Italian suit that has been perfectly-tailored, Schreyer continued.

He also said that each part of the Optima is able to display a tremendous attention to detail. The refined and unique style is evident from the flared wheel arches, to the sleek greenhouse, and even the unique sweeping chrome highlights that go all the way to the C-pillars, he said further.

The Optima was designed at the brand’s studios located in Irvine, California, and Frankfurt, Germany. The Optima is slated to arrive in Kia showrooms all around U.K. by 2011. While it will lead the brand in terms of design transformation, it is also expected to display a new and spectacular design language.

Highlighting this change is a streamlined and dynamic profile which exhibits athletic confidence and elegance, no matter where you look. Though it will be called as Optima in major markets, it will be known as the K5 when released to the Korean market.

Topics: kia, vw

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