Kia Motors introduced the 2016 Kia Optima at the New York International Auto show a couple of weeks ago as part of an effort to revitalize the brand. As the lesser arm of the mighty Hyundai Motor Group, Kia Motors has struggled to distinguish itself from the South Korean automotive giant’s larger arm (by which we mean Hyundai itself, of course). Kia owes a lot to Hyundai, having been rescued from bankruptcy and absorbed into the conglomerate back in 1998. Kia first introduced its rebranded Hyundai Sonata in 2000 as the Kia Optima in North America, and Kia has since been doing what it can to set the Optima apart from the Sonata and other midsize sedans, in much the same way it’s trying to distinguish itself from Hyundai.
Remember the Sephia?
The oddly named Kia was one of the first cars the company sold in the United States. Its low cost and low quality quickly became synonymous with the Kia name. In the overview on CarGurus, there are “complaints of numerous repair problems, particularly with the brakes and transmission, along with a cheap plastic interior, an easily dented body, small backseat, and labored acceleration when the A/C is on.”
While the vehicles produced by Kia in recent years have increased in quality to rival some luxury automakers, the perception of Kia is still stuck on the early impressions of cars like the Sephia.
I pulled up to the bank yesterday and parked nose to nose with a Mercedes-Benz.
It was kind of weird at first glance but I only looked for a moment and didn’t give it a second glance until I passed it again, on foot, on the way into the bank.
The car was an “Anniversary Edition,” at least according to the crudely applied stickers near the front fender. That’s when I paid more attention and realized the car wasn’t a Mercedes at all.
It was a Kia.
A blog post about car names may be in order soon.
The latest in head-scratching nonsense words being affixed to the tail end of cars comes from Kia, with its flagship sedan being branded with the made-up word “Quoris.” It’s hard to spell, hard to say and doesn’t really mean anything. According to Kia, the word was derived from the words “core” and “quality,” which still doesn’t make any sense, since that would make a word more like “Corality.”
Regardless of its name, the Quoris will likely come to the States as Kia’s best effort so far at a flagship car.