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A Lot of People Still Think Kia Sucks

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But It Doesn't

People think Kia sucks

Kia’s sexualized hamster is 100% done with the haters

There’s an old car joke about a guy who walks into a parts store and says, “I need a gas cap for a Kia.” The owner looks up and, without missing a beat, answers, “Okay, sounds like a fair trade.”

Kia used to be the punching bag of car snobs everywhere, and there was a time when automotive enthusiast Jay Leno would never pass up a chance to mock the Korean automotive company on his Tonight Show (Example: “97 mph winds in L.A. today. It was so windy I saw a Kia going uphill”). But twenty years have now passed since the company’s 1994 US debut, and a lot has changed in that time. Leno (finally) isn’t on late night television anymore, and Kia isn’t the laughing stock of the car industry anymore, either. Unfortunately, a lot of casual observers haven’t realized that yet – they still think that Kia sucks.

Michael Sprague, Kia’s chief marketer here in the States, told Ward’s Auto, “When I came into the position six years ago, in my head I thought it was going to be about a five-year period of time to change (Americans’ perception of us). And it has changed. But I’d like it to go faster. I haven’t gotten everybody yet.”

Kia finished sixth among car brands on this year’s J.D. Power & Associates’ Initial Quality Study, above competitors like Honda, Nissan, and Subaru. It even topped premium brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi – high-end companies that Kia rather ambitiously hopes to compete with in the near future.

However, while industry experts have noted Kia’s rise in quality, the public has yet to catch up. In this year’s ALG Brand Perception of Quality study, respondents placed Kia below all of the aforementioned automakers that it had bested in the Initial Quality Study. Kia was ranked third-to-last in brand perception, above only Daimler’s struggling Smart and the bankrupt Suzuki brand.

Kia GT Concept

The Kia GT Concept, which the company hopes will hold its own against Bimmers and Audis

“The reality is it’s almost a complete inverse, we’re above all those brands,” Sprague said about Kia’s poor finish in the ALG study. “So this is a challenge we continue to face. As the head marketer my biggest challenge is to change the perception.”

So what is it he’s going to do to endear Kia to the public? “It’s doing ride-and-drives at the auto shows, it’s showing up at food-and-wine events with vehicles like the K900, it is (participating in) motorsports to influence those all-important enthusiasts,” Sprague said.

Kia Motors Named Official Automotive Partner of Segerstrom Center for the Arts | K900

The K900, the company’s first full-size sedan, and a luxury vehicle that will hopefully debunk the “Kia sucks” argument

Kia has also pulled its sponsorship of The Voice due to declining ratings, and is now advertising during NBC’s insanely popular “Sunday Night Football” pregame show. “Sports still is the one thing consumers are watching in real-time,” Sprague says, which is why Kia also remains the official automotive sponsor of the NBA and the LPGA.

Hopefully the people who still think Kia sucks are the same people who follow golf, basketball and football – because they certainly aren’t following the auto industry.

  • christian munoz

    For the price of a K900 I’d rather go with Lexus

  • thepunditnet

    It sucks. They have no quality and nothing but cheap talk when you call customer service.

    Bought one last year; paints chipping, chrome plated rubber is fading to just rubber, trunk was filling up with water… Some quality.

  • Joey Stankiewicz

    Kia does suck. what?

    • Richard

      You suck.

      • Joey Stankiewicz

        good one.

        • Richard


  • Big Al

    Kias look great and offer a lot of ammenities, BUT Don’t buy one – suck. Horne Kia in Gilbert Az is unwilling to fight “Kia” to fix my car. Because they can’t use an ‘old’ code to fix the car. The dealership may be good, they just represent a crap company with a poorly produced vehicle.

  • Rusty Longwood

    JD Power & Associates is a scam group designed to handout awards to EVERYONE. They handout over 100 goddamn awards to car makers EVERY YEAR so every car maker has SOMETHING to brag about. (“Oh we have the 2016 Most Reliable Large Light Duty Pickup”). Their awards also tend to go to whoever happens to be paying them a decent amount of cash. The fact that Kia can only get 6th in some made-up ranking says nothing.

    Kia is a crap car brand. They’re really cheap, basically no-performance vehicles without the reliability, fuel efficiency or safety of a Toyota, Honda or Hyundai. The Kia Rio is a goddamn death trap of a car that holds the title of killing more of its owners than any other car on the road. Kia’s marketing has totally given up on trying to sell people Kias because they’re good cars (because they aren’t) and have instead resorted to stupid gimmicks of having CGI Hamsters sell their cars. Because, I guess a hamster is a good analogy for the horsepower you’re getting.

  • John Doe

    Haha I agree with the previous comments. Still sucks. Word of warning if you rent cars: Kias and hyundai rentals don’t come with spare tires. You get an air compressor and can of fix a flat Now Goodluck with your blowout. Lmfao. It’s pretty funny when you stomp on the pedal of a kia forte or hyundai Elantra-nothing. I’m a fan of Japanese cars but give me a Ford focus any day over those piles.

  • Chris McDonnell

    K900: 50,000 for 311 HP?? No thanks. Getting into corvette territory for that money.

  • NYCTim Sucks dicks

    Kias are the worst. They build the car with cheap parts and they will lie and do anything to get out of honoring the warranty. STAY AWAY FROM KIA. Do some research. They ARE HORRIBLE