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KIA TAKES INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO 1994 SEPHIA INTRODUCTION; RENTAL CAR CUSTOMERS "TEST DRIVE" NEW COMPACT SEDAN

 IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Taking a unique approach to introducing its vehicles to the U.S. market, Kia will preview the Sephia, its new compact sedan model, to rental-car customers -- perhaps America's toughest driving force--at select rental-car operations throughout the Southwest.
 Kia's sale of 1,800 Sephia (pronounced Seh-FEE-uh) compact sedans to Budget Rent a Car locations in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona is part of Kia's strategy to ensure customer satisfaction and help gain awareness of its vehicles.
 The Sephia will go on sale in 11 Western states early next year. In preparation for the U.S. debut of this model, Kia has taken an innovative approach to testing consumer response and long-term performance of the Sephia by selling to Budget its entire 1993 calendar- year availability of 2,000 units.
 "In addition to the extensive engineering testing performed on all Kia automobiles, we wanted 'real world' data with American consumers," noted Greg Warner, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Kia.
 "Rental vehicles are subjected to the most unforgiving of drivers and, because of the constant turnover, they quickly attain high mileage. Our rental car program has been extremely successful to date. Customer response has been positive and product reliability has been high, with no significant problems reported," Warner said.
 The first shipment of 185 Sephias was delivered to Budget's Las Vegas and Tucson fleets in August.
 Barry Stratford, general manager at Budget Rent A Car in Las Vegas, said customer response has been positive. "Clients tell us they like the car, that it's comfortable and runs well," he said.
 A total of 1,500 vehicles will be available at Budget airport locations in Southern California, with deliveries beginning in the next couple of weeks. The Phoenix airport will receive 200 cars and an additional 100 are slated for the Las Vegas airport.
 All fleets feature the Sephia RS and LS models, with automatic transmission, air conditioning and power steering. Similar cars will go on sale in the 11 Western states beginning in January, with the base price starting under $9,000.
 Kia Motors America is a subsidiary of Kia Motors Corp. in Seoul, South Korea. Kia has built the popular Ford Festiva since 1987 and has been manufacturing automobiles for nearly 30 years. Its vehicles are sold in more than 80 countries worldwide.
 -0- 10/7/93
 /CONTACT: Geno Effler, Kia Motors America, 714-753-7000 or Andrea Hanson, Porter Novelli, 310-444-7000/


CO: Kia Motors America ST: California IN: AUT SU: PDT

EH -- LA028 -- 9800 10/07/93 13:37 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 7, 1993
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