How Kia became one of NZ’s leading car brands
Around 10 years ago if you were hunting for a car, chances are you wouldn’t automatically think, Kia. They were a fringe car brand, known in New Zealand for bargain prices.
But today after continually improving for a decade Kia is one of the world’s strongest car brands, delivering high-tech, attractive, fun, feature-packed vehicles for amazing value.
What’s changed at Kia and how did they improve so much in so little time?
Kia’s epic transformation
10-15 years ago Kia was producing competent SUVs and small cars for excellent prices. But then they started building cars that looked good, were packed with advanced tech and cost less than most of their competitors. Sensible SUVs like the Kia Sportage and the Sorrento were their bread and butter.
But then something changed when they produced the Kia Stinger. This was an exciting driving machine with 365 hp under the hood, race car handling and a luxurious interior.
All of a sudden Kia was an exciting car brand to watch.
A recent Whichcar article puts this transformation down to the company’s willingness to take risks, and their 2006 poaching of VW Group designer Peter Schreyer – who designed the Mark 4 VW Golf and the Audi TT.
Even better – their current head of design Karim Habib has previously worked at Mercedes Benz, BMW and Infiniti and is propelling Kia in an exciting new direction.
The awards keep rolling in
In late 2021 Kia announced a redesigned lineup of cars for 2022, with futuristic design, the latest tech and new exciting features.
The redesigned Kia Sorrento won its category and was named NZ Car of the Year 2022 by NZ Autocar, Kia topped a US car dependability survey, the new Niro EV was voted car of the year 2021 by Popular Mechanics and the Kia Sportage became one of NZ’s best selling cars.
Then the brand continued on its roll and released the Kia EV6, their most exciting car yet and the first Kia (and Korean car) to win the prestigious World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year awards.
A closer look at the Kia lineup
Kia keeps winning awards for a simple reason – they produce attractive, safe cars packed with high tech features at a (very) reasonable cost. Here are a few of our favourites:
- The Kia EV6 is the most exciting car in the world right now and it retails for under $80,000. This is what the future of EVs looks like.
- The redesigned Sportage starts at less than $40,000 + ORC and sports an awesome futuristic look and cool tech like forward collision avoidance assist and a huge integrated touch screen. This is one of our favourite SUVs on the market right now.
- The Stonic is a super affordable small SUV that starts at $25,990 + ORC and features luxury inclusions like rain sensing wipers, rear view camera and smart cruise control.
- The Picanto is the ultimate first car or run around, starting at less than $20,000 + ORC with edgy design and comes with advanced driver assistance technology you’d expect to pay $30,000 or more for.
Ten years ago you mightn’t have considered buying a Kia. But today they’ve produced the world’s best car and become one of New Zealand’s most popular car brands so their range is definitely worth a look.
Keen to check out the latest from Kia? Drop in to Nicholson Auto Whakatane or get in touch with our team to arrange a test drive.
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