Kia Motor Corp. would want to soon be known as one of the mainstream brands comparable to Volkswagen, according to Oh Tae-hyun, the COO in charge of Kia's international business division. Lee Soon-nam, currently the vice president of Kia's overseas marketing group, said that 30 years ago, he was tasked to buy engines from Kia’s rivals like Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co.
He shared that at the motor shows worldwide, Kia’s officials would examine the newest models from Japan as they didn’t see any point in scrutinizing German luxury brands like BMW and Audi. They thought that these brands were so obviously out of their league and so it will only waste their time and money. The scenario is very different today as Kia is using BMW and Audi as its benchmarks.
It is also now on its way to getting out of Hyundai’s shadow. Kia’s new target is to pattern the identity of its brand after Volkswagen as it aims to reach the mass market but it still wants to be a notch higher than the others when it comes to quality and style. When interviewed by Automotive News, Kia’s officials talked about its two-pronged approach to build and differentiate the brand. They also emphasized Kia’s concentration on quality and the release of a range that plays up the use of advanced technology.
However, Kia worries that its move to build the brand may be hampered by increasing output too early to achieve sales targets or by removing content from vehicles to cope with unfavorable currency rates.
Kia is on course to soon be mentioned alongside the volume players due to a threefold climb in worldwide sales since 2002. In 2012, Kia was able to sell 2.7 million vehicles globally. It now aims to achieve a 28% increase to 3.5 million in 2016. It believes that its U.S. sales will increase by 6% to 590,000 in 2013 from record sales of 557,599 units in 2012. Because of this estimated surge in expansion, its officials have become concerned.