Positioned among the underdogs in two of the most competitive automotive segments — subcompacts and sport utility vehicles — Kia has unveiled in a national media launch its 2012 Kia Rio and Kia Soul.
Held at Travaasa, the woodsy luxury resort on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, Oct. 10-11, the lower-priced Kia and iconic Soul, were presented as two of the main reasons why Kia has generated a vast increase in popularity in the past three years.
Tom Loveless, vice president of sales for Kia Motors of America, one of several Kia speakers during a 90-minute presentation, offered the following statistics:
* Through September 2011, Kia has had a record 13 straight months of increased sales, an automotive industry record;
* Kia is the fastest growing brand in the United States with a 61 percent increase in the past three years;
* Kia has the lowest cost of ownership of any car sold in the United States;
* In 2008, Kia dealerships sold about 25 new cars per month; In 2011, Kia dealerships averaged new sales of slightly less than 50 cars per month.
Here are images from the test drives of the 2012 Kia Rio and 2012 Kia Soul. Complete reviews of the two vehicles are pending.
Images © James Raia, 10/11/2011
Article Last Updated: October 11, 2011.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.