Founded back in the year 1944, KIA set out as a company manufacturing steel tubing and bicycle parts under the name Kyungsung Precision Industry. Then eight years later in 1952 it renamed itself to what we now as KIA Industries. Thereafter, it started building Honda-licensed small capacity motorcycles and Mazda-licenced trucks in the years that followed.
However, in the year 1981 KIA was forced to end production after orders from a new military dictator Chun Doo-hwan, which lasted for as long as five years. KIA again became a part of the automobile industry in 1986 by joining hands with Ford. It went on strong until the year 1997 when the Asian financial crisis forced KIA to declare bankruptcy.
Hyundai took advantage of this situation and transferred its ownership by acquiring 51% of the company’s share in 1998. Now, as a result of several disinvestments, Hyundai owns only about one-third of Kia Motor Corporation but still regains its position as KIA’s largest stakeholder. Under Hyundai’s banner, KIA Motors America has been serving as the automaker’s sales, marketing and distribution section in the States.
It was only in November 2009 that KIA first produced a car in the US at KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia located in West Point. Since then KIA has been going from strength to strength to continuously improve its share in the American markets. Its recent models, 2018 Stinger and 2020 Telluride, have both been highly recognized by folks despite only being around for a considerably short time.
As of now, the company is capable of producing about 340,000 vehicles every year which are offered at over 755 dealerships throughout America. It has even branched out to Canada and a handful of other overseas countries as well.