UPDATE: Jan. 15, 2021: Kia will drop "Motors" from its name as part of an overhaul of the automaker's branding and business strategy, per an announcement Thursday. The move furthers a new positioning centered on movement, a concept Kia says extends beyond traditional vehicle manufacturing. Kia will direct more resources to the development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), mobility services and purpose-built vehicles for corporate and fleet clients, including in categories like car-sharing, low-floor logistics and delivery vehicles.
"Our vision is to create sustainable mobility solutions for consumers, communities, and societies globally," Ho Sung Song, president and chief executive of the Kia Corporation, said in a press statement. "Today we start putting this vision into action with the launch of our new brand purpose and strategy for the future."
Kia will introduce a new crossover BEV product later in the first quarter, the first global model to display its refreshed logo.
- Kia revealed a new logo and global brand slogan that aim to better reflect its business goals and the broader transformation impacting the automotive category, according to a news release.
- Meant to resemble a handwritten signature, the refreshed logo was described by Kia as a "rhythmical, unbroken line" that is also symmetrical to symbolize confidence. The piece of iconography was revealed in an elaborate firework display conducted by a fleet of more than 300 unmanned drones flying over Incheon, South Korea. The show was captured in a YouTube video.
- A new global brand slogan, "Movement that inspires," is also part of the Kia makeover. The changes arrive as part of the automaker's "Plan S" business strategy, a long-term initiative that prioritizes offerings like electric vehicles and mobility services to spur growth.
Kia kicked off the new year with a literal bang through an elaborate fireworks display guided by 303 pyrodrones. The event unveiling a spruced-up logo broke the Guinness World Record for the "Most unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) launching fireworks simultaneously," Kia said in the release.
Beyond drawing attention to Kia's bid at modernizing its look, the flashy stunt sets the stage for the marketer announcing broader plans to reshape its business, including through a new global slogan centered on movement. During a YouTube event to be held Jan. 15, Kia will further detail its reworked brand purpose and philosophy, as well as preview a product lineup that aligns with those values.
"The automotive industry is experiencing a period of rapid transformation, and Kia is proactively shaping and adapting to these changes," Ho Sung Song, Kia's president and chief executive, said in a press statement. "Our new logo represents our desire to inspire customers as their mobility needs evolve, and for our employees to rise to the challenges we face in a fast-changing industry."
An overhaul to Kia's branding could pave the way for more ambitious marketing refreshes in 2021, a trend that started to pick up traction last year in response to new mandates driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the automotive category, Kia joins rivals in putting areas like electric vehicle offerings and mobility services at the top of the agenda for growth. Ford has gone "all-in" on electric vehicles, with plans to invest $11.5 billion to electrify its fleet of cars. A holiday campaign for Ford's Mustang line spotlighted new electric offerings that mark a significant break with the iconic muscle car's noisy past. Ads featured several cast members from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," including star Chevy Chase, who recreated a famous scene from the movie.
Total U.S. vehicle sales were expected to land between 14.4 million to 14.6 million in 2020, according to analyst estimates cited in The Wall Street Journal. Those figures represent a roughly 15% drop from 2019 and the lowest figures recorded since 2012, suggesting there are more challenges ahead for automotive brands.