Kia originally made its mark for being a value brand. But that wasn’t enough to compete in today’s market. The company was aware that in order to make an impact on the industry, Kia would need to refine its image with upscale features, distinctive design and technology that would rival other manufacturers.
Over the last few years, Kia has done just that. And at a time when other car companies were cutting back on advertising, Kia moved full speed ahead with innovative and hip ad campaigns, a deep dive into social marketing and a partnering with the NBA. That, along with keeping costs low, has moved Kia into the cool category.
At the time of the Soul launch, Tom Loveless, VP of Sales for Kia Motors said, “This is the tip of a very big iceberg. It’s the direction Kia is going.” His premonition was on point.
The Soul, a five-passenger urban vehicle, was probably one of Kia’s first cars that didn’t take itself too seriously. (The name Soul is a play on “Seoul,” Korea’s capital and Kia’s hometown). Furthermore, this fun-looking small vehicle is customizable with over 50 different body and interior accessories including a fashionable red-lined glove box, speakers that pulse in time with your music, black “eyeliner” surrounding the headlights and a body kit with a rear spoiler. The starting price? Still a deal breaker at $13,300 for the 2010 model.
The next car that Kia launched, the Forte, a compact sedan, was positioned for the “passionate pragmatist who is thoughtful, optimistic… a leader who doesn’t follow trends,” according to Loveless. The Forte placed its prowess on being big on safety and fuel efficiency with class leading horse power and a mega-sized trunk. The base price starts at $13,695 for the 2010 model.