Published on January 21st, 2021 | by Subhash Nair


Kia Complete Rebranding Exercise Explained

Kia is a company that has come a very long way. It was once looked as a ‘barely better’ alternative to Protons. Today, they have cars that take on the largest SUVs in the USA and even the sportier lifestyle choices from Germany. And besides last year’s drop in sales, they’re still selling close to 3 million cars annually. But the brand knows that times are changing and they have to adapt for the future. To this end, they have just announced a major rebranding strategy.

Early in January, they officially showed off their new logo and slogan.

Today they put out a few explainer videos that will show how the brand plans to transform itself over the coming years.

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Here’s part 1 of the presentation, which covers the basics. The biggest takeaway is that they’re changing their name from “Kia Motors Corporation” to “Kia Corporation” or just “Kia”. They’ve moving away from the traditional manufacturing business model to emerging businesses and mobility in general.

The 2nd part justifies the transition. They talk about how the company started with making bicycles, made cars for many years and will continue to help people move and connect in the future. But then they pivot and talk about creating some other things like building spaces for ideas. I’m not sure if I understand it.

The third video talks about design. Things like the symmetry of the new logo, as well as the brand’s new colours are mentioned. They show a little highlight reel of the new marketing material that looks and feels a little more premium and purposeful.

In the final presentation, Karim Habib explains the new portfolio, which will include EVs (named EV1-EV9), while the rest of the portfolio will be represented by purpose-built vehicles (PBV). This might mean legacy model names will disappear, let’s wait and see.

All-in-all, the brand relaunch was both understandable enough, even though a LOT of fluff was spouted. Filtering out some of the dribble, what I get from this rebranding exercise is that the company is going a little more upmarket and wants to strengthen its identity beyond being Hyundai’s little sister. They’re incorporating some changes on the horizon into this rebranding too, so the timing seems right. By dropping ‘Motors’ from the name of the company, they’re able to change some of the older ways of doing things. I wish they had shared what plans they had for their own future beyond these vague concepts though. Perhaps we’ll see more of this soon.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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