Where Are Kia Cars Built? A Kia Car FAQ

January 27, 2012

Kia cars are built at several different manufacturing plants, the majority of them located in Kia's home country, South Korea. Headquartered in Seoul, Kia Motors is South Korea's second largest automobile manufacturer. Its history dates back to 1944, where it started producing bicycles and steel tubes. In 1952, Kia started producing automobiles, motorcycles and trucks, mostly for the domestic Korean market.

In 1994, two years after the creation of its American arm, Kia Motors America, Kia branded vehicles appeared on the North American market. Since then, the company has consistently expanded its reach from its original Korean market, to markets in North America and Europe.

The first assembly plant in North America was opened in 2006, in West Point, Georgia. Having a domenstic manufacturing foothold helped the company increase production and gain a competitive edge in the market share, with sales surpassing their competitors such as Mazda and Chrysler. Kia also has an assembly plant in Europe, located in Zilina, Slovakia.

Since its debut in the American and European markets, Kia Motors has made significant advancements in both market share and new developments. This placed the previously unknown South Korean car manufacturers amongst the top selling automobile brands in the world.

How Do Kia Sedans Compare to Each Other?

Among Kia cars, there are three basic sedan models: the Kia Forte, Kia Optima and the Kia Rio. All three models come in various trim levels that range from the cheapest base trim up to the most expensive SX trim.

Base Trim
The base trim level option is only available with the Kia Rio, and not the Kia Forte or Kia Optima. With the base trim level option, the Kia Rio comes with a standard transmission and 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 110 horsepower. The base trim for the Kia Rio does not come with air conditioning. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a base trim level Kia Rio is $11,695.

LX Trim
The LX trim level is the entry trim level for the Forte and Optima models and an upgrade from the base trim level for the Rio. With the Rio, the LX trim level offers the same engine as with the base trim. However, the LX trim level offers an automatic transmission rather than a standard transmission option.

This trim level offers a two-liter four-cylinder engine in the Forte and a 2.4-liter engine in the Optima. At the LX trim level, both the Forte and Optima come with five speed electronically controlled Sportmatic transmissions.

The MSRP for a Kia Rio LX is $13,795. For the Kia Forte LX and Kia Optima LX, the MSRP is $14,390 and $18,690 respectively.

EX Trim
The EX trim is the middle level for both the Forte and Optima. The Kia Rio is not available with this trim. At this level, the Forte is available with optional 16-inch tires and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

With the Optima, the EX trim level offers 17-inch tires and wheels, as well as upgrades for paint packages or the audio system. For Kia sedans equipped with EX, the Forte's MSRP is $15,995 and the Optima's is $20,995.

SX Trim
The SX trim level is the highest trim level available for all Kia sedans. With the Rio, the SX trim level offers an automatic transmission, front fog lights, a body color rear spoiler and metal trimmed accessories. The price for a Kia Rio SX starts at $14,895.

With the Forte, the SX trim offers premium upgrades such as 17-inch alloy wheels, tilt and telescopic steering column, trip computer and front fog lights. The MSRP for a Kia Forte SX begins at $17,495.

The Kia Optima SX offers upgrades similar to those for the Kia Forte. However, the SX version of the Optima also offers a black metal grill, paddle shifters and a larger 2.7-liter engine. MSRP for the Kia Optima SX starts at $21,795.

Kia Spectra Sedan and other High End Kias
The Kia Spectra sedan is a sporty, competitively priced, compact family car with a high level of standard safety equipment. There are several high end Kia models all of which are competitively priced.

Kia Spectra
The Spectra has a sleek new exterior body, smoother handling and a warranty of 10 years/10,000 miles. It is a better buy than the Hyundai Elantra, the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla or Mazda3, as it has more safety features, better crash safety ratings, higher performance and fuel economy. It also has more horsepower and a longer warranty. Hence, it gives better value for money than other vehicles in its class. The price for the Kia Spectra sedan ranges from $14,500 to $17,500.

This compact sedan is powered by 1,793 cc 1.8-liter front engine, capable of 138 hp at 6,000 rpm. It has a torque of 136 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm and a five-speed manual transmission with an optional four-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle is known for its fuel economy of 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

It has safety features such as six airbags, side impact door beams, a supplemental restraint system, a tire pressure monitoring system and an anti-lock braking system. These safety features make the Spectra the safest compact sedan on the road. It also has a hipster look with simple and clean lines. Moreover it's practical and spacious and has a high quality cabin. The switchgear is functional. The controls are intelligently laid out and the steering wheel is uncomplicated without any buttons on it. To sum it up, it's a lot of car for not much money, as the Kelley Blue Book describes it.

Kia Sedona
The Sedona is a minivan with a 10 year/10,000 mile powertrain warranty. It has a 3.8 liter engine capable of 250 hp at 6,000 rpm, a torque of 253 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm and a fuel economy of 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. It can carry seven passengers, and has a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. However, it's more costly than the Spectra, with a base price of $22,195.

Kia Amanti
The Amanti is a mid-sized luxury sedan that is silent and powerful. Its base price is $25,500, making it more expensive than the Spectra. Although it has been classed as a luxury car by Kia, its steering wheel feels too thin, there isn't elbow room on the driver's side window, the gauges are small and the air conditioner isn't effective.

Considering the above points, the Kia Spectra is better value for your money as compared to many Hyundai, Mazda, Honda or Toyota models, and even most other Kia models.

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