History of Kia | Jamestown, NY

Founding

The origins of Kia Motors dates back to 1944 when Kyungsung Precision Industry was founded in South Korea. Originally, the company produced steel tubing and bicycle parts and eventually made Korea's first domestic bicycle in 1951. Kyungsung Industry changed its name to Kia Industries in 1952.

In 1957, it started producing Honda-licensed motorcycles, then Mazda-licensed truck in 1962, and Mazda-licensed cars in 1974. Kia continued to expand its lineup until 1981, when the military dictator Chun Doo-Hwan forced industry consolidation.

1982 Kia Maepsy 
By InSapphoWeTrust, Public Domain 
2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 

First Kia Cars

Kia rejoined the auto industry in 1986 and once again started producing its lineup of small licensed vehicles for both domestic use and export. In 1992, Kia Motors America was officially incorporated here in the United States. However, the first Kia vehicles weren't sold here until 1994.

Kia in the United States

Once Kia was introduced to U.S. consumers, the brand grew consistently. Some of the first U.S. Kia models are still in production today, including the SportageSedona, and Optima.

By 2003, sales in the United States pass the 1 million mark. In addition, Kia initiates a new plan to pursue more environmentally-friendly production processes.

Over the next decade, Kia's quality continued to improve, and Kia is today recognized with numerous awards for quality, environmental management, design, and more.

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