The History of Kia Motors
The humble beginnings of Kia Motors saw the automaker building bicycle parts. That was in 1944 and Kia was known then as Kyungsung Precision Industry. Seven years later, the company began building complete bicycles.
Soon enough, Kia had changed their name to what we know today. They were making motorcycles licensed by Honda and trucks licensed by Mazda. By 1974, they were making their own cars.
Production of the Brisa line of Kia automobiles was from 1974 to 1981. Kia was also making vehicles for other automakers. The Fiat 132 and the Peugeot 604 were both manufactured by Kia. By 1981, the political situation in Korea forced Kia to focused solely on producing light trucks.
The situation was to change very rapidly for Kia. Fueled by a partnership with Ford, Kia manufactured 95,000 cars in 1987. The Kia Pride and the Kia Avella were Mazda-derived vehicles and were sold in South Korea and exported to other countries. They sold as the Ford Festiva and Ford Aspire in the United States.
The first Kia vehicles to bear the Kia nameplate began selling in the United States, originally just in the Pacific Northwest, in 1994. That was the Kia Sephia. A few years later, Kia introduced the Kia Sportage. By the end of the 1990s, both the Kia Sedona and Kia Optima had been launched.
The 21st century saw Kia fully arriving in the United States as a major player in the automotive market. Kia put down roots in Georgia in 2006, building a billion-dollar plant there that opened in 2010.