concept: world premiere at the 2006 NAIAS
auto show in Detroit.
20th December 2005.
Just a few days after the Kia
Rio won the East
European 'Autobest 2006' award for being 'the... most
suitable for the needs of the population of the region',
the Korean carmaker released a preview sketch of the
all-new "Soul" concept car,
which will make its world premiere at the Cobo Hall on
January 9, at the upcoming North American International
Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
The Kia Soul concept is a crossover
utility vehicle with a sporty, bold look that builds on
design cues from the Kia Mesa concept vehicle
introduced at the 2005 NAIAS.
A wrap-around windshield, muscular
wheel flares, stylish front headlamps and a sloped
roofline convey an athletic attitude for the Soul, which
is geared toward an active lifestyle. Though small on the
outside, it is big inside with practical interior room and
a reconfigurable cargo space. The rear lift gate includes
a unique "drawer" for wet or muddy items such as
a wetsuit or hiking shoes.
Kia Rio: available as sedan or hatchback.
But North America is not the only
market where Kia
intends to grow significantly fast. Eastern Europe, where
the car maker is building a 300,000 units capacity plant
at Zilina, Slovakia, voted five days ago the Rio as No.
1 for offering 'great versatility', by a jury of
influential motoring writers from 12 Eastern European
The Kia Rio won the prestigious
'Autobest 2006' award for being 'the new car most suitable
for the needs of the population of the region, thoroughly
modern with new technology and affordable to buy.'
Announcing the 2006 winner, Autobest Chairman Mr. Dan
Vardie commented, "Kia Rio emerged as the winner
thanks to its fantastic value for money, great
versatility, and the important strides made by Kia in
developing an excellent dealer network across all of
Rio surpassed its short
listed contenders as follows:
Rio, 706 points,
- Ford Focus (659),
- Renault Clio (599; the Clio III won last month the
European "Car of the Year" title),
- Chevrolet Spark (467; made in Korea by Daewoo and known
as Matiz in some markets),
- Suzuki Swift (449; the Swift
won recently the Car magazine "Car of the Year"
title in the UK, and the "Most Fun" category in
the Japanese Car of the Year).
The 2006 shortlist of finalists was
selected after each jury member proposed five all-new
models they regarded as the 'best' cars of the year that cost
less than €15,000. In the USA, Rio prices start from
$12,445 for the Rio 4 doors sedan and from $13,500 for the
Rio5 (5 doors), plus $540 delivery charge.
"The Autobest 2006 award for the
Kia Rio is a splendid achievement for the growing Kia
brand," commented Jean-Charles Lievens, Senior Vice
President Kia Motors Europe. "Jury members from the
emerging Eastern European countries have given our
B-Segment newcomer the strongest possible endorsement as
the ideal car for motorists in this region."
Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive
Vice-President and COO of Kia Motors Corporation stated,
"This award marks the first time an Asian car maker
has been awarded a car of the year distinction by Autobest
in the 'emerging markets' of Europe, which clearly
demonstrates that Kia is in tune with the needs of the
European customers and committed to expansion throughout
our largest overseas market."
Established in 2001, the 'Autobest
Among Emerging Markets' group is the leading motoring
organization in Central and Eastern Europe.
The 12 countries taking part in
Autobest are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Macedonia, Romania, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Turkey and Ukraine. These countries represent a total
market of more than 200 million people, and the
Autobest program is now considered the second-largest
independent annual European motoring assessment activity
after the European Car of the Year (COTY) award.
Each judge from the 12-strong Autobest
jury has up to 240 points they can allocate across 13
'criteria zones' under which the candidate cars are
assessed. The cars are rated for Interior, Exterior,
Handling, Dynamics, Comfort, Technology, Versatility,
Safety, Fuel Economy, Environment, Spare Parts,
Distributors and Price.
Previous winners were the Dacia
Logan (2004, Dacia is part of the Renault Group),
Fiat Panda (2003) and Citroen C3 (2002,
Citroen is part of the Peugeot - Citroen PSA Group).
* About Kia Motors Corporation: One of
the fastest growing automakers in the world, Kia was
founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of
motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive
Group, Kia aims to become one of the world's premier
automotive brands. Kia's 16 manufacturing and assembly
operations in 12 countries produce more than 1.1 million
vehicles a year that are sold and serviced through a
network of distributors and dealers covering 155
countries. Kia today has over 32,000 employees and annual
revenues of $14 billion.