South Korea's Kia Motors Corp. comes to Arkansas.Sephia, Sportage Added to Russell Chevrolet-Geo's Dealership in Sherwood
Kia. It sounds like a tropical fruit. Or maybe a good name for a Siberian husky Siberian husky, breed of medium-sized, muscular working dog whose origins date back thousands of years in Siberia. It stands from 20 to 23 1-2 in. (50.8–59.7 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 35 to 60 lb (15.9–27.2 kg). .
It's a Korean automobile manufacturer that turned 50 last December. Kia Motors “Kia” redirects here. For other uses, see KIA.
Kia Motors is South Korea's 2nd largest automobile manufacturer with headquarters in Yangjae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Its CEO is Chung Eui-sun. The American arm is Kia Motors America. America Inc., incorporated in October 1992 in Irvine Calif., has grown to 117 dealerships in 18 states, including Arkansas Arkansas, river, United States
Arkansas (ärkăn`zəs, är`kənsô'), river, c.1,450 mi (2,330 km) long, rising in the Rocky Mts., central Colo. .
Russell Chevrolet-Geo in Sherwood began selling both Kia models about two weeks ago. Kia dealerships closest to Arkansas are in Tulsa, Memphis and Texarkana, but Russell is the only Arkansas dealer.
Lack of name recognition, at least so far, hasn't been a problem.
"We've sold six or seven already," Brett Russell says. "A couple of those were to military people who had seen them. One or two were to people who were going to buy used Hondas but found they could keep their payments about the same and switch to a new Kia."
And that's with virtually no advertising. Russell says his father, Bob Russell, hired an airplane airplane, aeroplane, or aircraft, heavier-than-air vehicle, mechanically driven and fitted with fixed wings that support it in flight through the dynamic action of the air. to fly a banner over Riverfest to advertise the arrival of Kia.
"We don't even have any [Kia] signs up yet," Brett Russell says. "We're working out the signage with Sherwood. Businesses are allowed three signs, and we already have three."
Russell says representatives from Kia have come to Sherwood to train the sales staff about the models - the Sephia (Seh-FEE-uh) and the Sportage.
The Sephia is a four-door compact sedan Sedan (sədäN`), town (1990 pop. 22,407), Ardennes dept., NE France, on the Meuse River. A noted textile center since the 16th cent., Sedan also has metal and brewing industries. The town became part of French crown lands in 1642. with prices starting at $8,895. Russell is handling the 1995 models that have the look and feel of their counterparts made by Honda honda
a quick release metal eyelet for the end of a lariat. When the restrained animal is no longer required it is not necessary to slacken off the loop and pull it over the head—a very great advantage when working with wild cattle or unbroken horses. , Toyota and Nissan. The basic version, the RS, comes with a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic version costs about $800 more.
The Sephia LS runs $9,695 with a five-speed stick and $10,470 for the four-speed automatic model.
The top-of-line Sephia GS, with manual transmission, is $ l 0,595 and the automatic is $11,370.
The Sportage, which Kia calls a sport-utility vehicle sport-u·til·i·ty vehicle
n. Abbr. SUV
A four-wheel-drive vehicle with a roomy body, designed for off-road travel. , looks like a hatchback on steroids steroids, class of lipids having a particular molecular ring structure called the cyclopentanoperhydro-phenanthrene ring system. Steroids differ from one another in the structure of various side chains and additional rings. . Pictures and even the appearance of the Sportage on the lot are deceiving. It appears to be much smaller from the outside than it is from the inside.
The Sportage starts at $13,495 for a basic two-wheel-drive version and climbs to $16,195 for the Sportage EX four-wheel-drive model. The EX, with extras such as roof rack, air conditioning air conditioning, mechanical process for controlling the humidity, temperature, cleanliness, and circulation of air in buildings and rooms. Indoor air is conditioned and regulated to maintain the temperature-humidity ratio that is most comfortable and healthful. and automatic transmission can reach about $20,000.
Similar Marketing Style
Kia, though new to America, is using similar marketing approaches employed by other Asian car companies.
"They are following the same course Honda did 25 years ago," Russell says. "They're starting in California and moving east."
Bob Russell attended the National Automobile Dealers Convention in 1994, where he saw some information about Kia. He contacted the company, said he was interested and waited.
"He was following the Razorbacks this spring when he dropped an application [for a dealership] in my lap," Brett Russell says. "Two or three weeks later we got the dealership."
Bob Russell talked to Kia dealers in California before he applied for a dealership. It was their response that encouraged him to seek the dealership.
"They [dealers] were impressed im·press 1
tr.v. im·pressed, im·press·ing, im·press·es
1. To affect strongly, often favorably: with the quality," Brett Russell says, adding that the cars are "inexpensive but loaded with options. Customers have been pleased."
Russell says Kia has a strong after-sale program.
"Kia calls customers and asks them about the dealer's performance and the car," Russell says. "They also give the salesperson a spiff spiff Informal
tr.v. spiffed, spiff·ing, spiffs
To make attractive, stylish, or up-to-date: spiffed up the old storefront.
n. [reward] for good work. That's like free money to them because they're being rewarded for something they're supposed to do anyway."
Kia tested Sephia by selling 2,000 to Budget Rent A Car Corp. and tracking their performance for four years. Kia, which is working on another model scheduled to be introduced in 1997, plans to have 150 dealerships in 20 states by the end of the year.
Russell says Kia is holding back on a national advertising campaign, but says the company will help with local advertising. The dealership is planning a grand opening to introduce the Sephia and Sportage.