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Hip-Hop Hamsters Help Kia Outpace Industry

Korean maker now fastest-growing brand in U.S.

by on Oct.24, 2011

Kia's Hamstars are back - and continue to help draw new buyers into the maker's showrooms.

In a crowded field, Kia has emerged as the fastest growing automotive brand in the United States with a combination of new products, clever marketing and growing owner loyalty that has satisfied customers coming back for more. The combination also suggests Kia is benefitting from a surge of favorable “world-of-mouth” endorsements over backyard fences and across driveways.

Using hip-hop hamsters to promote new products that have shifted from stodgy to stylish is clearly paying off for Kia, long lost in the shadows of its better-known Korean sibling Hyundai.

Kia’s dealer count has gone up modestly but sales per dealership have doubled since 2008 as the company’s aggressive product cadence has produced a series of well-designed vehicles such as the Soul, Forte, Forte Koup, Sorento, Sportage, Optima and now the subcompact Rio and Optima Hybrid.

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The results have been an impressive sales surge. Kia announced best-ever September sales of 35,609 units, an 18.4% increase over the same period last year and the company’s 13th straight monthly sales record. For the year-to-date, Kia’s sales are up 37%, topping 365,000, boosting the company’s market share to 3.9%. The Korean automaker also expects to increase its 2011 market share for the 17th consecutive year, according to Tom Loveless, its vice president of sales.


First Look: Kia GT 4-Door Coupe Concept

Images, name leak out before Frankfurt debut.

by on Sep.09, 2011

New images of Kia's Concept reveal it is named the GT.

How much to reveal ahead of time? That’s always the challenge for an automaker heading into a crowded event like next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.  Say too little and your new offering could get lost in the crowd.  Too much and the gathering media hordes might not have reason to show up at your news conference.

Kia was trying to walk a fine line, revealing just enough to tease folks to show up for the launch of a sexy new 4-door coupe-like concept it will be unveiling in Germany.  Whether intentional or not a second wave of pics have wound up in the public domain, one of them revealing that the prototype will be named the Kia GT Concept.

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And word has it the show car will directly influence the future flagship coming for the Korean brand.

The concept features an unusually short front overhang with scooped side intakes framing the signature Kia grille – here moved higher up than on the brand’s current models.