Kia Motors Corporation is the oldest South Korean automobile company that was founded in 1944. Its headquarters is located in Seoul. Some experts consider Kia Motors to be the first Korean automaker. Surely, it suggests certain conventionality as at the moment of establishing the company wasn't involved in producing cars and was called KyungSung Precision Industry. Since the moment of its founding key direction of the enterprise's activity presented individual transport means. At that time KyungSung Precision Industry plant produced spare parts for bikes.
During those years Korea faced an acute shortage of individual transport means and local trading companies bought them primarily abroad. In 1952 the company produced the first Korean bicycle whereas in 1957 the first scooter was presented. In 1961 Kia launched manufacturing motorcycles. In 1972 four local firms including KIA Industrial Company received a license for the production of cars and several months later the first Korean petrol engine was constructed.
In the beginning of 1980-s the company faced financial crisis. Kia placed its stake on producing cheap autos and in 1987 model Pride on the basis of Mazda 121 was presented. In 1983 Mazda acquired 8% of the company shares and Kia started establishing its own center of research and development activities. Soon Kia created another several research centers one of which is situated in Japan. Three years later Kia signed a contract with Ford according to which American corporation received 10% of shares. The alliance with the largest manufacturers of automotive equipment immediately brought success to Kia.
Thanks to the chosen policy financial situation of the company stabilized and in the beginning of 1990 Kia entered European market. Nowadays Kia occupies the seventeenth place among the leading world producers of cars. Kia possesses a quite extensive range of minivans Carens, Joice and Carnival. Kia Carnival was presented for the first time in Europe in the beginning of 1999. The most compact Carens was introduced in autumn of 1999 at the motor show in Frankfurt am Main.
In 2000 model range of Kia was noticeably updated – new cars Visto, Rio and Magentis appeared that allowed to increase the total number of models to 13. The company focused on producing sedan Magentis with an optimum price/quality ratio. In the beginning of the new century National Highway and Traffic Safety Agency awarded Kia Sephia the honour of "the safest auto in the automobile industry". At the international motor shows the company Kia received high grades of specialists for creation of model Sephia. Nowadays models of Kia are sold in more than 170 countries.