Kia Company

Manufacturer History Kia


Kia originally opened its doors as a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycle parts in 1944.

They produced Korea's first domestic bicycle in 1951.

The 1970s

By 1973, Kia had built the Sohori Plant, its first integrated automotive assembly plant. Kia also released their first car, the Kia Brisa. The Brisa was produced until 1981 and the Brisa Pickup was Kia's first export.

Kia Pride

The 1980s

In 1981, Kia was forced to stop car production due to the Korean Government deciding that there was too much competition. Kia was ordered to shift their attention to light trucks.

This remained Kia's focus until 1986 when the order was removed. In 1986, Kia began production of the Kia Pride for export.

Over the following years, Kia assembled cars for other brands, developing cars such as the Peugeot 604 and the Ford Aspire.

The 1990s

Kia launched in the UK in 1991 and in 1994, it released the first generation Kia Sportage.

Kia Motors America was officially launched in 1992. By 1995, Kia has over 100 dealerships across the US and sold almost 25,000 cars.

Despite the growth of the company, Kia wasn't very prosperous and in 1997, the Asian Financial crisis led to Kia declaring bankruptcy.

Kia was purchased by Hyundai Motor Company in 1998, outbidding Ford Motor Company which had been interested since 1986.

With the range expanded by 1999, sales for the year reached over 6,000, more than double the previous year.

Kia Sportage

The 2000s

The 2000s saw the beginning of Kia's lengthy awards list with them winning the Korea Quality Award in 2001

In 2003, Kia declares an initiative to pursue environmentally-friendly operations and in 2008. The C'eed becomes Korea's first car to receive international environmental validation. Shortly afterwards, Kia is named Car Company of the Year by Autocar and received the Presidential Award for exceptional design management.

The 2010s

Kia Kicked off 2010 by extending their 7-year warranty as standard to all Kia cars in Europe.

The Kia Soul and Soul EV were launched in 2013 and the Soul EV became the first in the industry to be given Underwriters Laboratory's environmental validation.

In 2014, Kia Launched the Kia Fragrance as part of providing customer experiences. It was developed by the world-renowned perfumer Antoine Lie. This experience was developed further in 2014 with the Taste of Kia.

The Kia Rio was launched in December 2014.

2016 saw Kia celebrate 25 years in the UK and the launch of its first plug-in Hybrid, the Optima PHEV which went on to win the Large family car segment in the Next Green Car Awards 2016. The Sportage remains the top choice for consumers, winning Car of the Year and Best Medium SUV in hotly contested Diesel Car Awards and selling over 3,400 units in a month.

2017, 2018 and 2019 saw Kia continue to win awards, including:

  • PHEV Manufacturer of the Year - GreenFleet Awards 
  • Best Value New Car and Best Car for New Drivers - Auto Trader New Car - Kia Rio 
  • Best Used Large SUV - What Car? Used Car Awards - Kia Sorento 
  • Best Electric Car - Business Car Awards - Kia e-Niro 
  • Car of the Year - What?Car 2019 Awards - Kia e-Niro

Throughout the same years, Kia also introduces the Kia Stonic, an eye-catching, compact crossover, the Kia X'Ceed, Kia's urban crossover and the new high-specification e-Niro 4.


Today, Kia continues to deliver consumer experiences, having created the Kia Sound, a musical instrument developed for artists and inspired by nature.

Kia updated to a new logo and new slogan 'Movement that Inspires and. continues to expand its range of Electric Vehicles as part of a plan to release 14 EVs globally by 2027.  With cars such as the all-electric and award-winning Kia EV6 and the Kia Niro EV, Kia is positioning itself to create sustainable mobility solutions.

Kia Sportage
Kia EV6
Kia Niro EV

Kia Range

At Chapelhouse, we have a range of brand new and quality used Kia. Find out more about our range below. 

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