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Kia Motors Corporation.

1996: Kia Motors Corporation of South Korea is the second largest automotive company (after Hyundai) from the country that is taking over the mantle of "value for money" car-maker as the Japanese Yen strengthens.

Kia began by making bicycles in 1944, moving on to motor cycles and three wheeled cargo trucks. It started making four wheeled trucks in 1973. In the 1980s Kia formed links with Mazda (the Ceres uses a Mazda engine and transmission) and Ford (building the Festiva).

Kia and Asia Motors.

Kia and Asia Motors have been importing vehicles manufactured by Kia and its subsidiaries into Australia for some years, including the Kia Ceres 4WD forward control light truck and the Rocsta Jeep look-alike four wheel drives.

These are rather utilitarian vehicles and Kia is distributing the more up-market Kia Sportage itself through Kia Australia.

Kia Australia.

Kia Australia is a subsidiary of Itochu Corporation, a Japanese trading company. It has been created to import Kia's two wheel drive cars and, of most interest to 4WD's readers, the Kia Sportage four wheel drive which is in the same class as the Suzuki Vitara and the Toyota RAV4.

The Future?

Kia has also shown the novel Neo Mattina 4WD concept vehicle at motor shows, demonstrating that it has some imagination.

1997: Kia fell into financial difficulty, the Korean Government taking a 30% equity stake with the Government controlled bank.
1998: There are rumours that Hyundai may take-over Kia, and that Samsung has similar ambitions.
1998 October 21: Hyundai won the bidding for Kia, the final deal to be put to Kia's creditors on 17 November [-Kia]
1998 December 1: Hyundai and Kia formally sign the contract.
2000 March 1: Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd take over distribution of Kia vehicles in Australia, a task formerly carried out by Kia Motors Australia.

Go to the prices, Kia Sportage 4x4, Optima, Spectra, Rio hatch, Carnival people mover, Retona, Rocsta (specifications), Kia Ceres or Neo Mattina pages


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