Kia Motors unveils plans for a new design center in Europe

  • Design center to be located in new European headquarters
  • New facility will be Kia’s first design center operated independently from sister company Hyundai Motor Company

(SEOUL) July 5, 2005 -- Kia Motors Corporation announced that a state-of-the-art design center will be created at Kia’s new European headquarters currently under construction in the center of Frankfurt, Germany, which hosts one of the world’s biggest bi-annual international motor shows.

The design center, which will be fully independent from its sister company Hyundai Motor, marks a significant change in strategy, as its other existing design centers located throughout the world are jointly operated. Through a separate facility, Kia Motors will be able to further strengthen its goal of designing high quality vehicles with European-oriented style and performance that are especially in tune with the needs and desires of the booming number of Kia customers throughout Europe.

These latest plans clearly signal Kia’s continuing strong commitment to Europe, which has become Kia’s largest export market in 2005. Over the past two years, Kia has been the fastest growing automotive brand in Europe.

Kia’s stellar performance was confirmed in a recent release from the ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles), which showed Kia leading the pack in Europe among all automakers for growth rate in terms of new car registrations for May as well as the first five months of this year.

Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice President and COO of Kia Motors Corporation, stated, “As part of our global expansion plan, building a separate design center in Europe is an important and timely step in order to further differentiate Kia’s product range from Hyundai and our competitors.”

“We are committed to pursuing our strategy of ‘Glocalization’ by focusing on Europe, as we strive to design and produce cars that satisfy sophisticated European tastes, as well as clearly demonstrating Kia's ‘exciting and enabling’ brand identity,” he added.

In addition to the design center, the new building will be used by Kia Motors Europe to house its Pan-European sales, marketing and after-sales operations, plus a sales academy, a technical service center and the company’s pan-European IT hub. Kia’s first European assembly plant is currently under construction in Zilina, Slovakia, and is on schedule to begin production at the end of 2006. The European headquarter s will be the main trading partner for all Kia vehicles from Slovakia and Korea.

The construction of an integrated building for Kia Motors Europe’s new headquarters and design center is expected to be finished by February 2007 and ready to begin operations in March 2007. It will accommodate a total of 350 Kia personnel and other staff from affiliated groups in Europe.

Currently, the jointly operated Hyundai-Kia European R&D Center is located in Russelsheim, Germany while Kia Motors Europe’s headquarters is in Eschborn, Germany.

Kia Motors Corporation ( ) -- the fastest growing automaker in the world -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. Kia’s 16 manufacturing and assembly operations in 12 countries produce more than 1.1 million vehicles a year that are sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 155 countries. Kia today has over 32,000 employees and annual revenues of $14 billion . It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan -- “The Power to Surprise” -- represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.