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Optima has designs on style

August 3, 2011 / 1367 /

Kia’s widely lauded Optima has scored another tick for design with the bestowing of a Design Award at the gala Australian International Design Awards function in Melbourne.

The international judging panel praised the Optima’s sweeping lines, the many premium inclusions in the car and the outstanding value.

“Its sculptured forms and contrasting elements are fascinating,” the panel said. “Premium cues and very successful styling make this a lot of car for the money.”

Presented by Good Design Australia, the Australian International Design Awards is Australia’s foremost design endorsement scheme, rewarding companies that differentiate their products and services through design.

This year, 232 Australian and internationally-designed products were physically assessed by a panel of international design experts, with 127 making the finals. Of the finalists 47 products, ranging from an airline seat to a horse bit, were awarded a Design Award in recognition of design and innovation excellence.

The remaining 80 finalists were recognised as Good Design.

For a product or service to qualify for the Design Award trademark, it must exceed the five criteria for good design and additionally, meet the criterion for design excellence, innovation, in the expert opinion of the Design Awards judges.

Brandon Gien, Managing Director of Good Design Australia, said all entries underwent a thorough physical inspection assessing form, function, quality, safety, sustainability, innovation and best in class design.

“There are many products that are not good designs, there are quite a few that are a good design but very few that are excellent designs,” Mr Gien said. “Award winners are the result of unwavering dedication to good design and commitment to a professional design process. Innovation, creativity and attention to detail are clearly at the heart of each project.”

The Peter Schreyer designed Optima has previously won design recognition with a “Best Of The Best” accolade at this year’s Red Dot awards in Europe.

It is also ECOcar Australia’s reigning Car Of The Year.

First Half “Right on Target” Says Kia Motors Australia

August 3, 2011 / 1384 /

Kia Motors Australia has finished the first half of 2011 with healthy market share and positive sales growth in a market, which reported a 6.6% decrease in sales over the same period.

According to VFACTS results released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries today, the 12,836 new Kia vehicle sales for the first six months provided the company with 2.8% of total market share and a 3.3% increase in year to date sales.

In the passenger vehicle segment Kia held steady with a six month, 0.6% increase in a segment that experienced an 8.5% decline up to June 30.

Leading the charge for Kia was the Cerato with the all new hatch and sedan combining to produce a 65.6% increase in sales compared to the first six months of 2010.

Kia dominated ‘People Movers Under $55,000’ with Carnival representing 33% of the segment’s share while Rondo sales were up 22.1% for the year so far.

“We set a relatively ambitious business plan for 2011 and after the first six months everything is going according to plan,” said Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Tony Barlow.

“We anticipate much of the same for the second half with the exception of a Rio run-out making way for an all new 5-door hatchback which is scheduled to be unveiled late in the third quarter.”

In the competitive SUV sector better supply and continued customer support of Kia’s compact soft-roader, Sportage, saw it finish the first half of 2011 up 26.3%. The year to date figure was bolstered by a healthy June, which was 60.9% better than the same month last year.

Sorento’s sales growth of 1.9% for the first half helped Kia return sales growth of 15.3% in the SUV category, which reported a 12.5% reduction.

Kia Motorvation drives Life Changing Learning

August 3, 2011 / 1716 /

Kia Motors Australia and internationally-lauded driver training organisation, Motorvation, have strengthened and expanded their co-operative determination to provide young Australian drivers with the best possible start to a safe driving experience.

Through Kia Young Drivers (KYDz) the program has been taken to select Victorian school students for the past two years, introducing learner-age and P-Plate drivers to a concept of a safe and sensible life behind the wheel.

This year through an increase in sponsorship support, an adoption of highly-sophisticated simulator teaching technology and a change of corporate name the young driver program will reach more than 4000 young drivers in Victoria and NSW under the Kia Motorvation banner.

The Mobile Training Centre will bring a pair of high-technology simulators _ complete with realistic hydraulic movement _ to a variety of centres and give the students “real world” experience through bespoke software scenarios.

“There is nothing more important than our children and their safety,” Kia Motors Australia President and CEO Mr M.K Kim said. “They are the future and to help best prepare them for a safe and rewarding time as motorists is something Kia Motors Australia is proud and pleased to be associated with.”

Through the support of the program’s sponsors the training is offered to schools at a below- cost rate to ensure the benefits are available to all education outlets that want to be involved.

“Motorvation is excited to be increasing our involvement with Kia Australia to improve safety outcomes for young drivers,” Kia Motorvation co-principal and chief instructor, Geoff Fickling, said. “It is wonderful to work with a company so committed to road safety, and making the program mobile increases our ability to reach more young people who could not otherwise access such world-class training.

“The Kia Motorvation Program is a life-changing, enjoyable, and essential one-day course for young drivers. It is suitable for pre-learners, learner drivers and P-Plate drivers – in fact, anyone aged between 16 and 25 years, the most risky time for any driver. It is not about learning how to drive nor how to become super skilled.”

During the course professional and entertaining presenters provide a combination of focussed discussion and hands-on driving, guiding young drivers to understand that driving is a function of two parts: their attitude or driving behaviour, and their action or skills and knowledge.

“Kia Motorvation does not seek to increase skills, but focuses mainly on achieving an awareness of thoughts about driving that are often unconscious, and using this new awareness to completely change driving behaviour, therefore removing dangerous behaviours or habits,” Mr Fickling said. “If you don’t understand how you think, you can’t change what you do.”

The course also provides tuition in how to avoid or deal with the ‘One-Percenters’ – emergency situations that can happen to even the most careful driver.

“Motorvate exists only to create safer drivers and reduce crash risk, and we welcome independent research of our training,” Mr Fickling said. “Extreme care is taken to avoid creating a false sense of overconfidence in young drivers during the hands-on driving component.

“In fact, the opposite is achieved for already over-confident drivers through a combination of teaching methodologies, evaluation, and experienced supervision.

“The Kia Motorvation program is not a defensive, advanced or learn-to-drive program. It is a unique system of understanding drivers’ attitude and action.”

Kia adds drive to support for Timor-Leste

August 3, 2011 / 1330 /

The donation of a second Kia Sorento to the Order of Malta has widened the palliative care and medical services network provided throughout East Timor (Timor-Leste) by the world’s oldest Catholic Charity.

Kia Motors Australia provided the Order with a diesel all-wheel drive Sorento earlier this year and last week added a second car to the program after reports on how successful the original assistance had been in extending medical help outside the towns.

“It is the perfect car for this purpose and this generous support from Kia will help the Order to reach many more people in need,” the Order of Malta’s first Ambassador to Timor-Leste, H.E. David Scarf, said.

“There are 13 districts in Timor-Leste accessed by a very poor road system, some taking six or seven hours to reach. Now, with the use of the car a trained palliative care nurse is able to visit many more patients, together with the nuns, and provide them with proper care and the necessary medication.”

Kia Motors Australia President and CEO, Mr MK Kim said the donation of a second car to the Order of Malta was simply and correct decision to take.

“The original car has quickly proven its worth in humanitarian terms,” Mr Kim said. “To be able to offer further support to the wonderful care being provided by the nurses and the counsellors is something Kia is pleased and proud to be able to do.”

Mr Kim said that while a significant portion of East Timor’s one million residents are still trying to rebuild after decades of hardship, it is through organisations such as the Order of Malta and their supporters that the future can be brightened.

The Order of Malta was established in 1048 when the Knights Hospitaller protected sick, poor and injured pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land. Today the organisation is still known for its mission “to service the poor and the suffering” by providing services and facilities to support the sick, elderly, the handicapped and those who are marginalised and homeless.

The Order now operates in more than 120 countries across five continents. Worldwide there are more than 12,500 members, 80,000 permanent volunteers and 20,000 medical personnel.

Kia Motors posts 18.7% global sales growth in May

August 3, 2011 / 1757 /

(SEOUL) June 9, 2011 — Kia Motors Corporation announced today its global sales figures for passenger cars (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants), recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles for May 2011, recording a total of 207,839 units sold.  This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 18.7%.

In May, Kia posted strong year-on-year sales increases in all of its overseas regions – 48.4% in North America (55,140 units sold), 28.8% in China (33,624 units sold), 19.2% in Europe* (41,139 units sold), and 7.0% in general markets* (39,924 units sold), while sales in the home market of Korea declined by 5.0% (38,012 units sold).

Cumulatively, through the first five months of 2011, Kia’s global sales have increased by 20.4% year-on-year to reach 988,011 units. North America has experienced the highest gain to date in 2011 of 42.4% (226,078 units sold) while the remaining regions have all shown strong cumulative double digit year-on-year sales increases: 17.6% in China (169,691 units sold), 15.9% in general markets (202,389 units sold), 15.5% in Europe (183,708 units sold) and 12.2% in Korea (206,145 units sold).

Kia’s best selling model in overseas markets for the month of May was the C-segment Cerato (known as ‘Forte’ in some markets) with 38,204 units sold.

The Sportage compact CUV was the second best seller with 28,563 units delivered, while the Sorento mid-size CUV, B-segment Rio and Soul urban crossover vehicle followed with 18,459, 18,191 and 17,812 units sold, respectively.

Senior Executive Vice President & COO of Kia Motors Corporation, Thomas Oh, said, “Nearing the midway point of 2011, we are encouraged to see that customers’ continued changing perceptions about the quality, styling, performance and value of Kia products in positive directions has resulted in sales growth outpacing our initial annual forecasts. We look forward to maintaining strong momentum in all of our strategic markets in the coming months, buoyed by the arrival of the next generation versions of our popular Picanto A-segment and Rio B-segment vehicles in Kia showrooms around the world.”

Kia Motors’ Advertising Campaign Featuring Music-Loving Hamsters

August 3, 2011 / 1670 /

Kia Motors’ rapping and dancing hamsters earned the company one of the most prestigious advertising awards this week when the “This or That” campaign for the brand’s funky Soul urban passenger vehicle received the Gold Effie award in the “David v. Goliath” category at the 2011 North American Effie Awards ceremony in New York.

The annual Effie Awards (short for effective) presented by Effie Worldwide, Inc., highlights the most effective marketing communications efforts in the US each year, and the “David v. Goliath” category recognizes smaller, new or emerging brands that challenge category leaders.

The Kia Soul marketing initiative earned the Gold Effie after taking home a Silver Effie in 2010.

Together, the Soul’s popular “This or That” and the original “A New Way To Roll” campaigns contributed to significant increases in consumer awareness, perception and consideration of the Kia brand, and led to record sales of the urban passenger vehicle. In March, the Soul became the second Kia vehicle to sell more than 10,000 units in a single month, and after recording its best-ever monthly sales in May the Soul’s year-to-date sales are up 50.8 percent.

“The segment-busting Soul was the first vehicle introduced under Kia’s design-led transformation and was conceived to stand out in a sea of sameness with its refreshing design, outstanding functionality, variety of personalization options and tremendous value,” said Michael Sprague, Vice-President, marketing & communications, KMA. “The “This or That‟ campaign embodied the spirit of the Soul in a highly engaging way that really resonated with consumers and marketers alike – as evidenced by our second consecutive Effie award.”

In addition to the back-to-back Effie awards, the Soul spots have been named “Automotive Ad of the Year” for two consecutive years by The Nielsen Company.

Optima cleans up in ECOcar awards

August 3, 2011 / 1542 /

Kia’s stunning Optima sedan has shown it is much more than just a pretty face by taking home the ECOcar Magazine Car Of The Year award.

ECOcar Editor Chris Mullett said the Optima was the most impressive car he had driven in the past 12 months.

“It is not only a wonderful looking vehicle, nor just an enormously enjoyable drive experience.  The Optima also ticks all the boxes as a responsible, economic car for a modern family, and at exceptional value,” Mullett said following the announcement of the award at a ceremony in Melbourne.

Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Tony Barlow, said the recognition from ECOcar was particularly pleasing because of the breadth of characteristics that the COTY award recognised.

“We have been told on many occasions how stylish and attractive the Optima is,” Mr Barlow said.  “We have also been told by pundits in the media that the Optima is a very enjoyable drive and that it represents outstanding value.

“Now, with the ECOcar COTY award, we tick another box with recognition that the Optima is also an environmentally responsible car.”

ECOcar Magazine is published quarterly by the Motoring Matters organisation.  It is the only car magazine available in Qantas Club lounges across Australia, opening it up to a potential 12 million travellers a year.

“One of the odd little facts we have discovered since putting ECOcar in Qantas Clubs is that it is the most ‘borrowed’ magazine in the bookcase, to such an extent that we had to quadruple the number we supply,” Mullet said.

The 2.4-litre GDi Optima sedan comes in a single Platinum specification at $36,990.  The only optional extra is metallic paint at $450.

Kia blasts off in SPACE race

August 3, 2011 / 1362 /

Kia Motors Australia has entered the SPACE race with the completion of the first of a multi-million dollar corporate identity roll-out for the company’s 124 dealerships.

Thomson Kia, at Parramatta, is one of the first dealerships in the world to display the new Kia corporate look _ dubbed SPACE _ and will be joined this year by another 35 of KMAu’s key Metropolitan and Provincial dealerships. The extensive Australia-wide project is scheduled to be completed within four years.

“This is the first time we have had a completely integrated solution to the corporate identity of our dealerships and is just another reflection of Kia’s commitment to getting it right all across the board,” KMAu Chief Operating Officer, Tony Barlow, said.

“Our cars are winning widespread praise and the SPACE program is one more way of enhancing the new car experience for our growing family of customers.”

The SPACE concept encompasses a fresh restyling of the dealerships from the exterior fascia, the furniture and design of the showroom and customer welcome areas through to the service area.

Kia’s 124 dealerships across Australia cover metropolitan, provincial and country areas in a comprehensive service network.

There are 43 dealerships in NSW, 29 in Queensland, 25 in Victoria, 13 in Western Australia, 11 in South Australia, two in Tasmania and one in Darwin.

Kia Optima drives into design finals

August 3, 2011 / 1357 /

Kia’s stunning Optima sedan has been given the judges’ tick of approval as a finalist for the prestigious Australian International Design Awards.

The Optima is one of 10 finalists for the Automotive and Transport category, one of eight categories with a record total of 127 finalists.

“Our esteemed judges spent a week assessing each entry against a common set of criteria, focussing on innovation, form, function, quality, safety and sustainability,” said Brandon Gien, Managing Director of Good Design Australia. “Judges played with, tested, pulled apart and reassembled products to create an accurate user experience and understand each product’s design qualities.”

Mr Gien said that with a very high calibre entry field, the panel had a tough task choosing the finalist products.

“To be named a Finalist in the Australian International Design Awards is a significant achievement,” Mr Gien said.

The all-new Peter Schreyer designed Optima has won praise for its head-turning styling from both consumers and design experts since its international launch last year.

The car was awarded the “Best Of The Best” accolade from the international judges at Germany’s famous Red Dot awards earlier this year.

The Australian International Design Award winners will be announced at a gala event in Melbourne on July 22.

Sportage adds to the Honour Roll

August 3, 2011 / 1520 /

The multi-award winning Kia Sportage has added another accolade to its growing Honour Roll by winning the OzRoamer 4WD & SUV Guide’s award for Best Small AWD SUV.

“The Kia Sportage Platinum has both the design elements of form and function brilliantly executed,” OzRoamer Editor Rob Fraser said. “It just shows how far Kia has come.”

After extensive testing the Sportage scored maximum points for Performance, Practicality, Fit for Purpose and Value for Money. The stylish little SUV dropped only a single point in the categories of Comfort and Behind The Wheel feel.

Judge Anthony Hood described the Sportage as “the outstanding choice in this price segment” while fellow judge Stephen Lawson said: “That combination of powerful yet economical 2.0L diesel and 6-speed automatic is hard to fault.”

In assessing the Sportage, Mr Fraser paid tribute to the work Kia has done in localising the suspension for optimised performance on Australian roads while finding a pleasing combination of ride comfort and SUV ability.

Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Tony Barlow, said the recognition of the Sportage’s range of attributes was particularly pleasing.

“Our customers and those who review and comment on cars for a living have been telling us how much they like Sportage since it was launched in the middle of last year,” Mr Barlow said.

“It is always pleasing to have the work you have done as a company recognised in open forum. This latest award is another example of that recognition.”

OzRoamer 4WD and SUV Guide is a bi-annual magazine published as part of the Auto Alliance Group. Mr Fraser said the aim of the publication is to review both 4WDs and SUVs in a manner that helps the reader to understand the concept of “fit for purpose”, a key criteria in the judging process.


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