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Koreans Score Big Again in Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

Big Kia K900 sets all-time high.

by on Jul.08, 2015

The premium kuxury Kia K900 sedan was the highest-ranked vehicle ever in the VSA.

Step aside, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, there’s a new king-of-the-hill. Make that two of them, Korean siblings Kia and Hyundai together nudging aside European manufacturers with the high-score in the new Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.

The big Kia K900, a Korean alternative to such premium luxury models as the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-Series, scored an all-time high in the annual VSA study based on ratings submitted by over 66,000 U.S. new car buyers. But General Motors had more winners in individual vehicle segments than other manufacturer.

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“2015 represents a year of diversity,” says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc., the California research firm that conducts the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. “Competition is fierce and no one automaker dominates the results.”

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Japanese Automakers Slide, Koreans Surge in New J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

Japanese brands, as a group, post worst performance in 29 years.

by on Jun.17, 2015

Hyundai has scored major gains in quality with products like the 2015 Tucson, according to Power.

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If the latest J.D. Power survey is any indication, you might need to re-think just about everything you thought you knew about automotive quality.

The latest Initial Quality Survey, or IQS, finds that Japanese automakers, on the whole, have suffered a significant slide in the quality charts, with only three brands in the Top 10 this year. But the real shocker might be the surge in Korean quality. Kia, a brand long known for cheap, mediocre products, was second, behind top-ranked Porsche, with Hyundai ranked fourth. Jaguar, also struggling to reverse a reputation for poor quality, was third.

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For the Korean brands, which are caught up in a ferocious battle for market, the survey results represent a measure of vindication.  “We are extremely proud of the results,” said Mike Ofiara, a spokesman for Kia, which finished second in the overall ranking. “We’ve come a very long way. It’s representative of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.”

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Kia Optima Remains at Head of the Class

Next-gen sedan builds on success.

by on Apr.01, 2015

The new 2016 Kia Optima builds on the exterior styling of its predecessor. It his showrooms this fall.

The 2016 Kia Optima, the car that basically pushed the maker to the head of the class with midsize sedan buyers, finally got its full-on debut at New York International Auto Show.

“The Optima changed the way people felt about the Kia brand, and KMA owes much of its growth and success to its head-turning design and sporty performance. It was – and still is to this day – a fresh alternative in the midsize sedan segment, and it amplified a five-year design-led transformation that propelled Kia to record-setting sales year-on-year,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, sales and marketing, KMA.

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“The all-new Optima retains the signature personality of its predecessor, but we’ve literally improved everything, providing more space, better ride and handling, more technology and greater refinement.” (more…)

Kia Gives Full Look at New Optima Sedan Ahead of NY Debut

Sedan continues to put maker at the forefront.

by on Mar.26, 2015

Kia stopped teasing us and decided to show off the 2016 Optima coming to the New York Auto Show.

After a slow tease that might have made a stripper proud, Kia is finally going the full Monty, releasing a picture of the new Optima SX a week ahead of its New York International Auto Show debut.

The outgoing Optima was a breakthrough car for Kia, transforming it from a stodgy, value-focused brand to one pushing the boundaries of design. Preliminary renderings released by Kia earlier this month suggested that the 2016 Optima would maintain its edginess. With its distinctive new grille – that appears to be the case.

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“Instantly recognizable yet thoroughly fresh, Kia will introduce the all-new 2016 Optima at the upcoming New York Auto Show on April 1st at 1:20 p.m.,” the Korean carmaker said in a statement. “Available with multiple engine choices, the all-new Optima features a more spacious interior, class-up premium features and a number of technologies not previously offered on Kia’s best-selling midsize sedan.” (more…)

Kia Shows Design Direction for 2016 Optima Remake

New sedan set for NY Auto Show unveiling.

by on Mar.19, 2015

Kia continues to go edgy with the 2016 Optima remake.

Five years after making its debut at the New York Auto Show, Kia will lift the covers on a new version of the Optima sedan. And the Korean carmaker is hoping that the 2016 model will live up to the brand’s ad slogan, “The Power to Surprise.”

The outgoing Optima was a breakthrough car for Kia, transforming it from a stodgy, value-focused brand to one pushing the boundaries of design. Preliminary renderings released by Kia suggest that the new 2016 Optima will maintain its edginess.

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The two images released by Kia pick up on many of the design cues first seen at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month in the form of the Kia Sportspace wagon concept. That show car picked up on the familiar Kia “tiger nose grille, giving it an almost slit-like appearance, with quad LED headlamps. Like the Sportspace, the Optima renderings show a coupe-like curve to the roofline, with bolder sheet metal creases than the current sedan, as well as muscularly flared wheel wells.

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Kia Sportspace Offers Clear Look at New Optima

U.S. sedan will borrow key cues from European wagon concept.

by on Mar.02, 2015

The Kia Sportspace Concept will heavily influence the design of the next-gen Optima sedan.

Ever since former Audi design chief Peter Schreyer came onboard, Kia has given meaning to its slogan, “The Power to Surprise.” Whether it’s the big K900 luxury sedan, the quirky Soul or the GT4 Stinger concept, the Korean carmaker has delivered some of the industry’s most intriguing styling exercises.

And it’s proving that point once again this week at the Geneva Motor Show this week where it will formally unveil the Kia Sportspace wagon concept. We got a first hint of what’s coming last month, and now the Asian maker has pulled the wraps off the Sportspace with a series of photos.

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And while the concept is clearly aimed at the European market, where wagons remain a highly popular body style, Americans motorists should take a close look at what, in sedan form, will be the next midsize Optima. Expect to see only a few modest changes when the production design reaches showrooms later this year.

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Kia Goes Off-Roading with Trail’ster Concept

Kia testing waters for electric all-wheel-drive runabout.

by on Feb.12, 2015

Kia's Trail'ster Concept is ready for a winter romp. The concept debuting at the Chicago Auto Show is the maker's take on a rugged off-roader.

Can a “cute ute” also deliver some serious off-road credentials? That’s what Kia is determined to show with the Trail’ster Concept it’s debuting at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. It takes only a quick glance to recognize the show car is based on the familiar Kia Soul.

In Trail’ster trim, the quirky compact crossover gets not only the skid plate treatment, but also a rollback canvas roof. But even more intriguing is what Kia refers to as an eAWD system, something that has also been called “through-the-road” all-wheel-drive, with a turbo gas engine driving the front axle and an electric motor running the rear.

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With Kia and its sibling Korean brand Hyundai rolling out an assortment of new hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, might a production Trail’ster be in the offing? (more…)

Kia Teases Geneva Concept: Are You the New Optima?

Show car could feature battery-based drivetrain.

by on Feb.10, 2015

Kia offers a hint of what could be the next Optima.

Kia has some big news coming in Geneva. And it’s confirming plans to reveal a new concept vehicle it says it has “created as a spacious and versatile accessory to an active lifestyle.”

Unlike other Korean concept cars of the recent past, this D-segment, or midsize, show vehicle appears – at least from this teaser image – to be nearly ready for production, which suggests that it may very well be a thinly disguised version of the next-generation Kia Optima.

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It is, the maker, hints, “a purposeful, energetic design study for the style-conscious, and as a sanctuary from the stresses of the modern world.”

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Kia to Reveal Trail’ster “Rugged Runabout” in Chicago

Beefed up Soul concept is powered by e-AWD.

by on Feb.05, 2015

Kia's showing off its Trail'ster at the Chicago Auto Show. The Soul-based hybrid features a unique drivetrain.

Kia plans to blow into the Windy City next week with an intriguing concept vehicle it’s describing as a “rugged runabout.”

A terse release doesn’t reveal much, though it suggests that the Kia Trail’ster concept will attempt to blend the best of the maker’s gas and electric versions of the popular Soul, while adding a little more rugged capabilities.

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“Conceived at Kia’s California design studio,” the Korean carmaker says, the Trail’ster “re-imagines one of the brand’s most popular vehicles. Built for city dwellers seeking an adventurous escape and intended to enable a variety outdoor activities, this concept proves that practical urban wheels can also be rugged and capable.” (more…)

Hyundai Reveals $74 Billion Investment Plan

Annual spending will exceed previous record by 35%.

by on Jan.07, 2015

Hyundai Motor Group is going to invest about $74 billion into the company during the next four years.

In an effort to expand its line-up and add much-needed production capacity, Hyundai Motor Group plans to invest almost $74 billion over the next four years.

The move was announced barely a week after Chung Moon-koo, the chairman of the group that controls both Hyundai and Seoul-based affiliate Kia, forecast the group will see its slowest growth in a decade as it deals with increased competition and a weaker global economy. Hyundai officials have also said that once-booming growth has been restricted by limited production capacity in key markets including North America.

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At 81 trillion Korean won, the spending plan by the world’s fifth-largest automaker works out to a 35% annual increase for each of the four years compared with 2014’s previous record investment level of 14.9 trillion won. (more…)