Country of origin: South Korea
Production years: 1986 -
Kia was up until the 60's a South Korean bicycle producer which started manufacturing licensed Mazda light commercial vehicles. In 1974 their first passenger car rolled of the prodcution line, the Kia Brisa, which was a licensed Mazda as well. The model was to be produced up until 1981 along with licensed versioner ofPeugeot 604 and Fiat 132, but had was forced by the military dictatorship to concentrate on making light trucks instead. In 1986 Kia restarted its car production, now with Ford as partner. The cars being made were still mostly small Mazda-models, most notably the Kia Pride which was built on Mazda 121, and was sold as Ford Festiva on certain markets. The first Kias were exported to the US in 1992. In conjunction with the Asian economic crisis in 1997, Kia filed bankruptcy, Hyundai became a large stakeholder, and still is. During recent years, Kia has focused its export to the European markets, and grown its market share considerably.


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