I've never thought much a Kia. When the Sephia and Sportage came out in 1994, they were a joke. It definitely showed in the J.D. Power initial quality rankings for that year. Kia was dead last in initial quality. As far as grabbing someone's attention, Kia wasn't even on the radar. Buying an unproven car was a risk that not many people were willing to take.
But here's the thing about being on the bottom, you can only go to the top. Devoted to rejuvenating their image and climbing the scales, Kia has dedicated its efforts since 1994 to making people see that they just aren't a blip on the screen but here to stay.
I first test drove a Kia at the Philadelphia Auto Show in February of 2016 with Jeff Bogle of Out With the Kids. It was my first taste of what Kia was all about. I had reservations based on what I knew already about the car, which wasn't much. When I initially thought of Kia, I imagined a tiny car that I couldn't fit into so I was prepared to sit in the back and lament at the lack of leg room. This was not the case, and I was pleasantly surprised.
My wife and I had started to look at cars and I thought that maybe, Kia would be a good fit for our family. That is, if I could fit in the front seat. At 6'6" car buying isn't all that easy. Before I even sit down with a salesperson, I just sit in the front (with the seat as far back as it will go) and see if my kids can sit behind me.
In February of 2016, I attended Dad 2.0 Summit and had a chance to drive around Washington D.C. in my second Kia Ride and Drive experience. I started to think that while talking about my kids in this video, that this WAS my car. At the end of that month, my wife and I bought our first Kia, the Sorento, and I officially became a #KiaDad for real.
This summer, I spent three wonderful days in San Diego with Kia doing another Ride and Drive event, learning all about #TheNewKia. Do you realize that Kia went from the bottom of J.D. Powers Initial Quality to #1 ? They are one of the top ten best brands in the industry today and #1 in the entire industry for the number of owner satisfaction APEAL (Automotive Performance Execution and Layout) awards as stated by J.D. Power.
How did they do this? With a massive investment in operations her in North America. 2.5 billion has been spent to on proving ground, headquarters, design studios, and maufacturing plants, the main one operating out of West Point, Georgia. That's 15,000 jobs created here in the US for American workers. Over 40% of the vehicles sold here are made right here in the U.S.A.
Kia cars just make you feel good about driving them. They went from a joke to a head turner. They are that quiet girl that on one noticed until she showed up to the ball as Cinderella. Kia re-hauled their image with a dedication to design.
Who wants to drive a car that doesn't make them feel something? Their dedication to the design and their signature "tiger grille" grabs your attention and the details from body shape to interior features shows a real love for their craft. Here's the part that sealed it for me. At 6'6" I can actually fit!
Kia's are just fun to drive for the whole family. My kids and I enjoyed a trip to Baltimore this summer in a Kia Sedona SXL. Our girls were enthralled with the second row moon-roof and enjoyed seeing the sky in a different light. We headed to Baltimore to explore the city in the new Sedona. My youngest daughter saw the car in the driveway and said "People are going to think we are famous!" Kia is luxury. Kia is dependable. When you're Kia, you're family.
Most of all, Kia isn't done with you yet. They are planning to lauch 20 new or redesigned vehicles in the next five years including the first of it's kind, the Niro, a HUV (Hybrid Utility Vehicle) which will change the way we look at the efficiency of cars with up to 50 mpg. In fact, innovation of their brand means innovation in car making. By investing $12 billion by 2020 by investing in development of green car and autonomous driving technologies.
But beyond that, they are a car company that cares. James Bell, Director of Corporate Communication for Kia Motors America said it best "We aren't happy until you are happy." So I spent a part of my summer taking photos of the people who interacted with a Kia and this is what I found. Kia can make you happy. They can make you happy because they care about the community. They can make you happy because their cars work for your family. They can make you happy because they care about your well being. That's what being a part of a family means. Safety and support to keep you happy, that's the Kia difference.