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Kia is all grown up

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Many of us may not realize or may not be old enough to remember a time when Samsung was nothing more than a rather cheap electronic supplier – with quite a bit of quality issues. But looking at it today, you see one of the world’s major players in electronics, producing and selling everything from smartphones to televisions and appliances.

Apple sees Samsung as a very valid threat, and the Korean brand has in that same time overtaken well-known Japanese electronic manufactures such as Sony and Panasonic.

But what are we doing talking about electronic manufacturers on a car blog? Well it’s all to build perspective and to draw some parallels in the automotive industry with Korean brands like Hyundai and Kia.

The Korean car manufacturers have also steadily improved over the recent couple of decades, but Kia and Hyundai have only transcended their perceptions as being budget brands in the past five years or so.

For those who are yet unaware, Kia and Hyundai are sister brands, with Hyundai becoming a major shareholder of Kia in 1998. And this shows, because they share engines, platforms and a lot of research and development, however there is quite a bit of emphasis on independence when it comes to design and marketing strategies.

Kia has seen a great year in 2012, the brand growing in Europe – even when considering the economic conditions – while gaining a stronger foothold in North America, and actually seeing a record year in Australia.

According to one of Kia division’s public relation manager, it all comes down to a massive difference between how Kia used to be run, and how it is run at the present.

Nowadays, according to this manager, Kia is tightly run and well managed and has become committed to best practice automotive marketing. The product is a proper blend of design, quality control, top engineering and focused marketing.

What does the future have in store from Kia? That remains to be seen, however what we should keep an eye on are the Chinese manufacturers, they are right now in a very similar position as Kia and Hyundai were a few decades ago.

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