What does the Kia name mean?
If you’re an automotive know-it-all with a thirst for even more automotive knowledge, then you may want to know what the first Kia car was. You may even be wondering what the Kia name means. We have answers to all those questions along with a little Kia history lesson right here.
Where is Kia from?
Kia is a South Korean company that calls Seoul its home. The company was first founded back in 1944, though when they first started out they manufactured steel tubing and bicycle parts. Since then they have certainly grown, and now they boast of factories in six countries and vehicle sales in over 170 countries.
Don’t let their Korean origin fool you. Though the company is headquartered in Seoul, many of its cars are actually manufactured right in Georgia. Because of this, you will see “Made in America” proudly displayed on both the current Optima and the current Sorento. Kia also has a design studio located in Irvine, California that can handle the design of up to eight vehicles at a time.
The word Kia actually has an interesting meaning. Believe it or not, even a word so short as Kia, actually has two parts to its Korean meaning. “Ki” means “to come out” and “a” means “east.” In other words, Kia can be translated to mean, “to come out of the east.” Fitting for a company that hails from East Asia and caters to so many countries from around the world.
The first Kia car
As we mentioned earlier, Kia started out as a steel tube and bicycle parts company. It didn’t take long before they moved on to bigger and better things and in 1951 they produced Korea’s first domestic bicycle. By 1957, they were building motorcycles licensed by Honda, and in 1962, they were building trucks licensed by Mazda.
Their first motor-vehicle that was solely from Kia was the Brisa which was produced in 1974. This light duty truck also had a passenger car model, but it never came stateside. In fact, it wouldn’t be until 1994 that Kia first attempted to sell their vehicles here.
They began rolling out sales region by region starting in Oregon. At first, they only had one model, a four-door sedan called the Sephia, but after a few years of success the lineup expanded to include the Sportage.
It’s up to you what you want to consider the first Kia to be. It could be their bicycle, it could be anyone of a number of vehicles they built under license, it could be the Brisa, or it could be the first U.S. Kia car, the Sephia.