Kia Motors, which was once the synonym of cheap and not so cool transportation has transformed itself drastically in the last couple of years. The South Korean brand under Hyundai’s umbrella has spawned some uber cool mainstream cars that are not only stylish in terms of design but brings high-level impressive quality as well, with a host of technologies onboard. These include the models like Telluride, Seltos, Sonet, Stinger, K900 and all-new K5 as well.
Now, Kia Motors aims to take the game one notch up with its new five-year business strategy, dubbed as ‘Plan S’. Under this project, Kia Motors will invest a fresh $25 billion over the next five years. Under its ‘Plan S’ strategy, Kia aims to establish a leadership position in the future automotive industry, drawing on R&D expertise in mobility, electrification, connectivity, and autonomy.
The ‘S’ in ‘Plan S’ signifies the shift. This certainly indicates towards the auto brand’s new changing dimension in the next decade starting from 2021. At least that is what Kia Motors’ global boss Ho Sung Song made it sound like in an interview with AN.
As Song indicated, starting from January 2021, Kia Motors will be rebranding itself. This process will include introducing a new logo first showcased on the Kia Imagine concept. The new logo is claimed to be serving as a way to drive Kia Motors’ new business paradigm into the new world. “We want to be more dynamic, stylish and inventive,” said Song.
The other part of the rebranding strategy is a substantive shift towards electric mobility. Kia Motors plans to roll out 11 electric vehicles globally by 2025. Also, the South Korean auto major plans to introduce 7 more products in electric form by 2027. Kia will reveal its first all-electric vehicle in 2021, which will be underpinned by a Hyundai-sourced electric car platform. So far, Kia Motors hopes to send half a million electric vehicles on roads by 2026 and next few years are going to be interesting for the brand.
Appointment of Won Kyu Kang as VP and Head of Kia Design Innovation Group
Kia Motors has appointed Won Kyu Kang as Vice President and Head of the Kia Design Innovation Group. Starting in his new role in November 2020, Kang will be based at the brand’s design headquarters, Kia Design Center in Namyang, South Korea and will report to Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Design Center.
Won Kyu Kang will oversee advanced design planning and future design strategy for Kia Motors. With his appointment, Kia aims to strengthen its design capabilities to capitalize on new opportunities in electrification and mobility. The advanced design is seen as a key element for new challenges and opportunities in form and architecture of electric and electrified vehicles.
An alumnus of the Transportation Design course at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, Won Kyu Kang has over 15 years’ of experience in exterior design. Kang spent much of his career at BMW Group where he was the lead exterior designer for the 2015 BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage concept.
Focus on combat vehicles with new Military Standard Platform
Kia Motors has also revealed its plan to develop a new standard platform for next-generation military vehicles, strengthening its capabilities for future military projects. The auto major is developing Military Standard Platform for 2.5-ton and 5-ton bulletproof military vehicles, with prototyping of mid-size standard vehicles to commence by 2020 and test evaluations by the South Korean government in 2021.
As Kia Motors reveals, its goal is military deployment from 2024, following standardization and initial production tests. Kia has already joined hands with the South Korean military for this project.
These will include an open-top All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) based on Mohave SUV bare chassis. Kia also aims to expand the Purpose-Built Vehicle (PBV) business with learnings from military projects. The automaker is conducting advanced research to apply new technologies to military vehicles, including EV platform, autonomous driving and even hydrogen fuel cell technologies. The fuel cell technology is considered suitable for future military vehicles with capability to supply large amounts of electricity in combat environments.
The standard military vehicles will be equipped with a range of the latest commercial technologies, including high-torque 7.0-liter diesel engines and automatic transmission systems, ABS and Anti-Spin Regulator (ASR), Rear Parking Assist, Around View Monitor, satellite navigation and hot wire seats.
With modular approach, the platform will be able to spawn out other derivatives in future, such as vehicles equipped with a range of weapons systems, and with more specialized specifications and technologies.
Kia Motors has produced a range of vehicles for the South Korean and overseas military, including 0.25, 1.25, 2.5 and 5-ton vehicles. So far, Kia has supplied nine model types and 100 derivatives, and produced a total of 1.40 lakh military vehicles. These include the BV206 all-terrain tracked carrier, a 15-ton rescue vehicle and heavy equipment transport tractor, multipurpose tactical vehicle, a light tactical vehicle replacing 0.25-ton and 1.25-ton vehicles.