Beginning. Kia was established in 1944 and it is the oldest Korean car brand. At the beginning, the company manufactured steel pipes and bicycle parts. In 1957, the company began to manufacture motorcycles, and car production was launched five years later.
Development. For the first decade, the company's production process was not independent. In 1974, it launched the Brisa model in cooperation with Mazda. Kia also manufactured Peugeot (model 604, in 1974) and Fiat (model 132, in 1975)-licensed cars. Later, the car manufacturer began to cooperate with Ford. In 1988, Kia manufactured its one-millionth car. Five years later, the Koreans began to sell cars in the United States. The Sportage and Sephia models started the expansion. Kia at that time also started selling cars in Europe. Owing to these activities, the 3-millionth car was manufactured in 1993.
Present. A breakthrough event occurred in the year 2000. Kia merged with Hyundai. This is how the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group was created. Two years after the merger, Kia manufactured its 10-millionth car and the export of 5-millionth car was celebrated in 2005. At present, the company is the second largest car manufacturer in Korea. The company extended the scope of its activities, opening its own research centres located at each of its six main branches. It also runs research and development centres in Detroit, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Frankfurt.
Contribution to the automotive industry. Kia is increasingly associated with reliability. The Cee'd model, which has been manufactured since 2006 in Žilina, Slovakia, has changed the entire class of compact cars. Despite an affordable price, it is made of good-quality materials. It is also safe — it was awarded five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. Automotive experts claim that the Cee'd model does not fall behind more expensive competitors (e.g. Volkswagen Golf). The Picanto model is also well received in the city car segment.
Trivia. Kia is also involved in sports. The brand is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and the Davis Cup. Since 2007, the company has been an official automotive FIFA partner. Apart from passenger cars, Kia also manufactures light commercial vehicles.
Popular Kia models: Kia Cee'd, Kia Cerato, Kia Picanto, Kia Optima, Kia Rio, Kia Soul, Kia Carnival, Kia Sorento, Kia Sportage.
Tyres. Kia equips its cars with tyres ranging from 13 to 16 inches. These are very popular sizes, such as: 155/70 R13, 175/70 R13, 175/65 R14, 185/65 R14, 195/65 R15 and 205/55 R16. Kia, like every automotive company, cooperates with tyre manufacturers for the supply of tyres included in the original equipment of its cars. For example, Kia Picanto was originally equipped with both Hankook K702 and Michelin Energy tyres.