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200,000 units of the 7-year guaranteed Kia cee’d from Slovakia
New Kia concept to keep its Soul... for Paris

Production Kia Soul to be presented at the 2008 Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris.

Production... Soul to be presented at the 2008 Mondial de l'Auto.

APN,
27 May 2008.

Following the production of its 200,000th European cee'd in Zilina, Slovakia, Kia Motors has also confirmed that its all-new production model will retain the name of the SOUL concept cars shown earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, and the first SOUL concept debuted at the 2006 North American International Auto Show.

The three SOUL concept cars – SOUL Burner, SOUL Diva and SOUL Searcher – were meant to reveal a new ‘fun’ side to the South Korean brand.

Kia Soul trio of concept cars (Geneva 2008)

The Kia trio of Soul concept cars: Burner, Diva and Searcher.

Designed by Kia’s European design team led by Gregory Guillaume, under the guidance of Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, the concepts cars were developed from the original SOUL concept car designed jointly by Kia’s California and Korea design studios, before being unveiled at the 2006 NAIAS in Detroit.

Speaking about the choice of name for the original 2006 Detroit concept car, Tom Kearns, chief designer of Kia Motors America said that in addition to what it means in English, “...Soul also is a homophone for the home city of Kia Motors headquarters, in Korea so it’s a fun play on words.”

From left to right: Kia Soul Searcher, Diva and Burner concept cars.

Soul Searcher (foreground), Diva (white) and Burner concepts.

Kia's trio of concept cars were each designed to appeal to different consumers, with a clear potential for personalisation.

As the name suggests, the Kia SOUL Diva concept targeted women with a glamorous expression, a bit flashy but playful and fun. Turning the cabin into a stylish lounge, the seats were upholstered and trimmed to look like sofas. The cabin floor presented a tactile treat, with black long-pile ‘Pony-hide-style’ carpet.

 

Ten months after start-up, Kia's new vehicle manufacturing facility in Zilina, Slovakia, celebrated the production of the 200,000th cee’d last Friday.

With its C-segment /lower medium cee’d expansion and a 7-Year/ 150,000 km warranty, Kia's european sales are rapidly growing.

In productivity terms, the flexible Zilina plant has set a string of new records for Kia, with 915 units made in a single day (Monday 21 April), 4,474 units in a single week (week starting 7 April) and 19,300 units in one month (April). The staff of 2,748 are currently building, in two shifts, more than 50 derivatives of three Kia cee’d models – 5-door hatchback, 5-door wagon and 3-door pro_cee’d – plus 10 different versions of Sportage SUV models, simultaneously on six final assembly lines.

Since the cee’d’s launch in Europe (Dec 2006), the cee’d family won 5-Star EuroNCAP safety standards and other titles including 10 national ‘Car of the Year’ awards in its category. It was voted ‘Family Car of the Year’ in Sweden, ‘Car of the Year’ in Greece, ‘Fleet Car of the Year’ (Compact Class) in Poland, ‘ING Business Class, Lease Car of the Year’ in Belgium and ‘Best Car of the Year’ (C-segment) in the Czech Republic. Similar awards were won in Romania, the Canary Islands, Lithuania and Macedonia.

 

With its nastier looks, the SOUL Burner concept took the ‘bad boy’ character, a ‘show-off’ complete with dragon tattoos. The four individual sports seats and entire cabin trim are divided horizontally. Above the split, everything is finished in a rich matt red, below all is deep black.

Away from both brothers, the Kia SOUL Searcher concept moves towards tranquillity... even within the urban hassle, searching for the spirit of Korean and Far Eastern culture.

Looking ahead to the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Kia say's that it's production Soul model is not a replacement for an existing vehicle. It is destined to be a bit of a rebel within the Kia global line-up, retaining aspects from the three concepts.

To be made in Korea from September 2008, the new Soul production car will make its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show October 2008.

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