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Kia Wants To Be The 'People's Car', Eying Volkswagen As Benchmark


Angular Front Exterior View - 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door 5dr HB EX

Angular Front Exterior View - 2012 Kia Forte 5-Door 5dr HB EX

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Kia, it seems, wants to be Volkswagen. Not only is the Korean rising star of the automotive world specifically targeting the Volkswagen brand, they’re also targeting the goal of becoming a beloved, “people’s car.”

As Kia vice-president Hyoung-Keun Lee explained to  Automotive News Europe (subscription required), Kia would love to be a “people’s brand,” like the German company whose name translates into “people’s car.” Kia isn’t just gunning for VW’s image, it’s got VW’s specific models in its sights as well.

The next Kia Cee’d (which is most comparable to the U.S. Kia Forte) was designed to have ride and handling characteristics that mirror the VW Golf, one of Volkswagen’s most popular models worldwide. Like Volkswagen, Kia competes for mainstream customers and offers a broad selection of vehicles ranging from compacts to crossovers and even minivans.

From Lee’s perspective, becoming the world’s best-loved brand is a means to an end. Achieving this goal will automatically translate into both sales and market share for Kia.

Kia also has the benefit of learning from other automaker’s mistakes. Toyota’s quality issues, Lee believes, were a direct result of the automaker expanding global production too quickly.

Kia won’t make that same mistake, and has relatively modest expectations of growth over the next three years. In 2011, Kia expects to sell some 2.4 million vehicles worldwide, and Lee expects that to grow to just 2.8 million vehicles worldwide by 2014.

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Comments (2)
  1. If Kia really wants to be the "people's car", they should seriously rethink their recent move to eliminate manual transaxles from all but the base (LX) trim levels. It's as though Kia assumes that if a customer orders a manual, they're far too cheap to deserve a higher trim level. Why would I want to spend $1,000 more to buy a car with a fun and performance robbing slushbox? Besides, I could use that money to buy leather upholstery, or a sound system upgrade.

    I own a 2010 Forte EX sedan with a 5-speed manual, which I had intended to upgrade with a Forte EX 5-door 6-speed, but it's now unavailable with a stick. Sorry, Kia, although I love my Forte, I'll not even consider your cars in future.
     
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  2. Service after the Sales will make or break Kia.
    It's fine to crank out units sold for the "bean counters" but if Kia or any other manufacture for that matter is going to turn off repeat customers by re-defining what is and what is not covered under warranty then they have already lost the battle.
    Honda.......are you listening?
     
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