Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hyundai-Kia Aims to Sell 8.4 Million Vehicles in 2015

Hyundai Motor Group is expected to raise its global sales target to 8.4 million vehicles in 2015 worldwide despite worries about a weaker Japanese yen and slowing sales in emerging markets.

According to company officials on Thursday, chairman Chung Mong-koo will announce the new sales target on Jan. 2 during a speech at the group’s New Year ceremony in Seoul.

“Our sales and marketing divisions have already started drawing up next year’s plans under the increased sales goal,” said a company official declining to be named.

“In Korea alone, we aim to sell 1.14 million vehicles, including 660,000 for Hyundai and 480,000 for Kia.”

Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors sold a combined 7.24 million vehicles as of November, up 4.8 percent from a year ago. The Korean automotive duo recently said they were set to hit a record 8 million mark at the end of this month.

The 2015 sales target reflects a 5 percent growth from this year. The figure also outpaces an estimated 4 percent growth of overall global car sales next year.

The Hyundai-affiliated Korea Automotive Research Institute predicted that automotive sales in the global market would grow about 3.9 percent to about 87.1 million vehicles next year.

“In the past, a weaker yen took a toll on Hyundai and Kia. But the situation has changed as the two carmakers have secured their own competitiveness,” said Park Hong-jae, head of the institute.

“Considering Toyota’s tendency to seek stability on a falling yen, Hyundai-Kia needs to pour resources more aggressively into emerging markets next year,” he said, adding that the yen-dollar exchange rate could fall to around 120 yen to a dollar by 2018.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kia Reveals New Diesel Turbo Hybrid Optima

Kia, the Korean automotive brand that has taken Sri Lanka by storm, has unveiled a diesel-electric turbo hybrid version of it Optima luxury sedan, demonstrating the brand’s innovative new mild hybrid powertrain.

Powered by the model’s existing 1.7 litre CRDI turbo-diesel engine, and an electric motor that runs on a 48V lead-carbon battery, the vehicle features a zero-emissions stop-start system, and can be driven in electric –only mode at low speeds while cruising.

"The concept car showcases the extent to which Kia has developed hybrid technology," said Andrew Perera, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors (Lanka) Limited. "Although a right-hand drive version is not envisaged, Kia fans in Sri Lanka will be very enthusiastic about this development because it could one day benefit other models."

A new belt-driven starter generator replaces the conventional alternator in the Optima diesel hybrid, meaning the engine can restart with virtually no noise or vibration. The system also allows an innovative electric supercharger for the CRDI engine in additional to the conventional turbocharger, providing improved power and torque at all engine speeds.

Kia’s engineers are targeting a significant reduction in CO2, tailpipe emissions and fuel consumption and a power increase of 15 to 20 per cent for any model that could be equipped with the new powertrain.

One of the highest selling brands in the Sports Utility (SUV) segment in Sri Lanka with the Kia Sorento and the Kia Sportage, Kia Motors attributes its popularity to its design-driven aesthetics, class-leading features and performance and value-for-money proposition. Popular Kia models in the passenger car segment in Sri Lanka are the Kia Optima, Kia Cerato, Kia Rio and Kia Picanto.

The new generation Kia Optima, known in some markets as ‘Magentis’ was launched in Sri Lanka in August 2011, and has remained a benchmark for luxury driving, superlative design and motoring safety.

Test Drive: 2014 Kia Forte5

Kia's 2014 Forte family is three vehicles strong, and while the Forte sedan and Koup manage to visually set themselves apart from the Forte5 hatchback, that latter model is such a fantastic car, it practically makes its siblings irrelevant.

The Forte5 essentially offers everything found in the Forte and Koup, but features a more versatile package. It's been said time and again by car critics and fans alike for years, and it's as undeniably true now as it was decades ago: when you have the choice, always opt for the hatchback.

The Forte5, along with the Koup, receive a redesign for the 2014 model year, and both can also be fitted with a new 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That engine replaces the naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre powerplant found in the 2013 Forte5, and is an alternative to the carryover 2.0-litre four-banger.

To anyone considering the Forte5, know this: the turbocharged engine is eminently better than the 2.0-litre, and it's worth shelling out the extra cash. It also makes the Forte5 far more compelling than the competition.

You don't have to be a car person to be aware of the many sedans that populate the compact car segment - names like Corolla, Civic, Elantra, and Mazda3 are a dime a dozen on Canadian roads, and for good reason.

Hatchbacks are a different story in terms of sheer numbers, although the competition is just as tough. The Forte5 is up against the Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda3 Sport, Ford Focus, and Toyota Matrix, to name a few, and the Elantra GT and Mazda3 Sport in particular are as excellent and well-rounded as a car gets.

Still, the Forte5 is no slouch, and it has that wonderful thing called a turbocharger. The only other turbo-equipped competitor is the Ford Focus, but to get a model with that engine, you have to move up to the $30,000 high-performance ST trim.

Although my SX Premium test vehicle is admittedly close to that $30,000 price tag, it comes absolutely loaded with virtually every feature you can get in a Forte5. For those who love the 1.6-litre engine but don't want to spend as much cash, the lowest-priced turbocharged Forte5 starts at a more reasonable $23,795.

The Forte5 is so much more than a peppy powerplant though. It boasts a roomy cargo area, regardless of whether the rear seats are in position or folded down (and if only they folded completely flat!). There's plenty of room for four adults, though even the fifth seat in the middle of the rear bench actually isn't bad - even for adults - for short jaunts.

I do some long distance driving during my time with the Forte5, and while my backside does become a little sore during the longest road trip I take, the seats generally hold up very well.

The interior is relatively quiet, and the engine doesn't fuss, even when I'm pushing it as I pass slower vehicles on the highway. Six-speed automatic transmissions are par for the course in this segment (unless you're the Toyota Matrix), but I love that Kia offers a six-speed manual as standard with the more expensive SX trim.

My test vehicle is equipped with the auto, though, and while not nearly as engaging as a three-pedal vehicle, the transmission offers quick shifts, and it never seems to be out of sorts and unsure what gear it should be in.

I still think Kia has some of the most user-friendly vehicles around today, and the Forte5 is no exception. I love being able to pair and set everything in a matter of seconds and be off doing the fun stuff - namely, driving - with nary a delay. I also think it's a lot safer to be focused on the road and not fussing with technological do-hickies while behind the wheel. Those standard steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls don't hurt, either.

The Forte5 really is one of those vehicles that is difficult to complain about. It may not be spectacular at any one thing, but it's also rock-solid at most things, making it a truly compelling package.


2014 Kia Forte5
Trim level: SX Premium w/ Auto
Price as tested (before taxes): $28,395
Options on test vehicle: none
Freight/PDI: $1,485
Configuration: front engine/ front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder / six-speed automatic w/ sequential shift
Power/torque: 201 hp/ 195 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Regular (50L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.7 city, 6.7 hwy
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 8.2 over 486 km
Warranties: 5 years/ 100,000 km (basic), 5 years/ 100,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: Mazda3 Sport, Hyundai Elantra GT, Ford Focus, Toyota Matrix

Report Card (out of 10):
Fuel Economy: 7 – Don't have to drive efficiently to get good numbers here.
Equipment level: 8 – Lots of standard goodies even on the base model.
Price: 8 – A great price when you consider what's included on the top trim.
Styling: 8 – The best-looking vehicle in the Forte family - seriously.
Comfort (front): 7 – Plenty of room for tall drivers.
Comfort (rear): 7 – Quite spacious for a compact hatchback.
Handling: 7 - Forte5 is fun to drive, though I'd love to see a performance version.
Performance: 7 – I'm a big fan of that new turbocharged engine.
Storage: 7 – A roomy, easy-to-access storage area.
Overall: 8 – Nary a weakness to be found with this wonderful machine.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

NBA All-Star Blake Griffin Ad Campaign


“Showdown” is First in a Series of 60- and 30-Second Ads Debuting on Network and Cable and Can Be Viewed Today Here

• Series of spots titled “Blake Griffin in, The Optima” set to run throughout the 2014-2015 NBA season
• Multiplatform campaign includes online, television and social media elements

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 22, 2014 – NBA All-Star Blake Griffin and his comedic talents are back in a starring role in a series of new television commercials for Kia’s best-selling Optima midsize sedan. Continuing the signature, satirical comedy of previous efforts, Griffin is cast in the lead role for several big-budget action movies set in the Old West, ancient Rome and an aircraft carrier in the series of three 60-and 30-second spots. Much to the concern of his directors, Griffin begins improvising and replaces his scripted mode of transport – be it horse, chariot or fighter jet – arriving instead in the Kia Optima, and making each movie better if he does so say himself.  The first spot, “Showdown,” begins airing online today and on television on Christmas day during NBA programming with the others debuting throughout the NBA season.

“As a global brand ambassador, this marks Blake’s fourth campaign for our best-selling Optima and he keeps getting better and better,” said Tim Chaney, vice president of marketing communications, KMA.  “The Optima has been Kia’s most popular vehicle since the time when our partnership with Blake began, and he has helped us foster connections with basketball fans across the country, increase awareness and enhance our brand image.”

Created by David&Goliath, Kia's advertising agency of record, the Griffin spots can be viewed as they roll out on all of Kia’s social and digital platforms, including and  In addition to the spots, an exclusive virtual staring contest with Blake Griffin will launch on the recently redesigned Tumblr page,

Griffin Advertising Background
Blake Griffin’s comedic talents and deadpan delivery have made a connection with Optima buyers and basketball fans over the past two NBA seasons.  Kia’s partnership with Griffin was born in 2011 following his famous dunk over an Optima to win the Sprite® Slam Dunk Competition.  As a global Kia brand ambassador, Griffin has helped grow the brand’s presence in both basketball and pop culture through national marketing campaigns, commercials and social media.  During the 2012-2013 NBA season, Kia’s ad campaign featured Griffin offering helpful suggestions to younger versions of himself as Kia’s available UVO voice-activated infotainment system1 took his futuristic Optima on a time-traveling musical journey through the mid-1990s and early 2000s.  In the 2013-2014 NBA season, Griffin and funnyman Jack McBrayer became a crime-fighting dynamic duo in “The Griffin Force” to try to save the world one Kia Optima at a time.

Dynamic and Sporty 2015 Optima SXL
The popular Optima – Kia’s sales leader in the U.S. – is an eye-catching sedan that is available in two powerful Theta II powerplants featuring gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology:  a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder or an optional 2.0-liter GDI turbo engine.  A 2.4-liter hybrid powertrain is also available.

The cabin of the 2015 Optima, features upscale and high-tech amenities.  The optional SXL trim brings Optima to another level of sporty refinement, adding unique 18-inch chrome wheels, new LED fog lights, red brake calipers, an electronic parking brake, chrome accented side sills, and premium Nappa leather-trimmed seats.  The Optima SXL is built at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia*, in West Point, Georgia, and is offered at a starting MSRP of $35,5002.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

New Additions to Kia

Kia Motors has expanded its line-up of Sportage, Sorento and K2700 models by adding a new, high specification model to each range.

Unique to the South African market, the new Sportage Explore, Sorento Adventure and K2700 Sebenza offer additional appeal and excellent value for money through the inclusion of a selection of Kia genuine accessories as a standard specification.

Kia Sportage Explore

Whether you choose to explore South Africa alone or with family and friends the new Sportage Explore will be the perfect companion. And thanks to the inclusion of satellite navigation, you will never have to ask for directions either.

Also included in the Explore package is a tow bar with a stylish oval styling bar that perfectly complements the Sportage’s stylish design.

Integrated side steps make climbing into the car easier. Explore decals adorn the tailgate, while the interior has an Explore-branded service book wallet and carpeting.

Kia Sorento Adventure

As with its Sportage sibling, the Sorento Adventure is equipped with satellite navigation to make every on- and off-road adventure just a little bit easier, while the exterior is rounded with a towbar, also with a stylish oval styling bar, a bold nudge bar at the front for a more rugged visage and integrated side steps.

Adventure decals feature on the tailgate, while the interior has an Adventure-branded service book wallet and carpeting.

Kia K2700 Sebenza

Additions to the K2700 Sebenza are both aesthetic and practical and include the fitment of a bull bar at the front to deal with life’s little knocks more easily.

The addition of a towbar with integrated step not only allows you to increase payload through a trailer, but also eases access to the load bay.

The interior includes a branded service book wallet and carpets.