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Kia comes of age

Barely 15 years ago, it is unlikely that the name “Kia Motors” would have registered with many car buyers in Bermuda. Since then, the South Korean company that started in 1944 making bicycle parts by hand and didn’t make its first car until 1974, has become one of the most remarkable success stories in the motor industry.

“Kia”, which roughly translates as “rising to the world out of Asia”, has risen to become a truly global brand that sponsors major events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Australian Tennis Open.

Together with South Korean part-owner Hyundai, Kia is the fifth biggest carmaker in the world, selling 6.6 million vehicles between them in 2011 with record Kia sales of almost 2.5 million worth $39 billion up 18.6 percent on 2010.

Bermuda Motors first imported Kia cars in 1994 and has seen its market share increase steadily since then. For the past five years, according to TCD figures, Kia has been the best-selling brand in Bermuda with 25 percent of the market.

Bermuda Motors currently sells four Kia models the subcompact Picanto, the compact 5-door Rio, the Cerato sedan and the distinctive mini-SUV Soul and General Manager Michael Butler says there’s no mystery why Kia continues to be the company’s best-selling brand.

“With each new model or update, Kia really pay attention to detail,” he says. “Take the new Rio, for example. It was already one of the best-selling cars in its class but with the 2012 model Kia have added so much more in terms of design, performance, technology and standard features that are expensive extras on other cars, that it’s essentially a different car. It was a similar story with the Picanto last year.”

He notes that hands-free Bluetooth capability, for example, a requirement under Bermuda’s new hands-free car phone legislation is a standard feature in all Kias instead of an additional extra.

Mr Butler adds: “Customers have been really impressed over the years with the quality and finish of Kia cars which has improved dramatically since we first started selling them. They are also very reliable and that’s why we see so many people stay with Kia when they are replacing or upgrading their vehicle.”

Indeed, the Kia range in Bermuda provides options for most budgets and appeal to young and old drivers.

The new Rio certainly fits the bill. With a basic price of $28,500, that includes standard Kia ‘extras’ like Bluetooth, reverse parking sensor, push-button start and Steptronic gear options, the Class E 1400cc car is among the best-value compacts on the market.

Not only is it deceptively spacious with stylish lines, a high-quality interior design and finish, it delivers a smooth drive and dynamic handling you’d expect from more expensive car. It is, as Kia’s marketing department calls it, a “talented compact”.

The Kia Rio is available from Bermuda Motors, Church Street East, Hamilton. Call 292-0893 for a test drive or visit www.bermudamotors.bm/cars/kia/rio for more details.

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Published March 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm (Updated March 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm)

Kia comes of age

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