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Audi, Jag, Kia and Tesla top Strategic Vision 2014 Total Quality Index

Sun, 06 Jul 2014 13:03:00 EST

A couple weeks ago, J.D. Power released its latest Initial Quality Study, which gave high marks to Porsche, Hyundai and General Motors, with the latter earning more individual IQS awards than any other manufacturer. Now, it's Strategic Vision's turn, and it's doling out its praise not to Porsche, but to Tesla, which wasn't even included in the JD Power IQS.
The Model S was named the best vehicle overall in total quality, while Porsche's corporate brother and endurance-racing rival, Audi, was named the best premium brand, alongside Jaguar. Strategic Vision cited the Q5 and the ancient Q7 for individual segment awards, as well as the A5, which was a mere point off the top of its segment. SV also handed out compliments for the Audi's interior work. The win for the German brand is a nice improvement over its IQS score, with which it landed above the industry average, but solidly mid-pack.
Jaguar was without a segment winner, although SV did say that the Indian-owned English brand had a number of vehicles very near the top of their segments. This is the second significant win for Jag in two weeks, after it finished second overall on the JD Power IQS a few weeks ago.

Kia recalls 2014 Cadenza over wheel fractures

Thu, 19 Jun 2014 10:30:00 EST

Kia is officially recalling just over 3,100 2014 Cadenza sedans. While that might not seem like a lot of vehicles, the reason for the recall is particularly troubling - the optional 19-inch wheels on these cars are prone to cracking. Doubly troubling? Cold weather tends to make things worse, so if you drove your new Cadenza during this past Winter of Hell, you'll want to get on the horn with your local dealer.
The affected cars, all of which have 19-inch wheels, were built between February 1, 2013 and August 27, 2013. Kia is in the process of notifying owners, and should be completed by the end of the month. Based on the recall documents, it doesn't appear that there have been any injuries or crashes due to the wheel fractures.
Owners will need to report to dealers, where their cars will be fitted with replacement wheels, free of charge. Scroll down for the official bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Supermodel Adriana Lima kicks off World Cup fever with Kia

Mon, 09 Jun 2014 13:00:00 EST

Americans, it has been said time and time again, will never embrace soccer. Not when we have so many other sports (like baseball, basketball, hockey and American football) to watch, cheer on and follow. But if anyone can change minds, surely it's Adriana Lima. The Latin American supermodel - best known for being a Victoria's Secret Angel - is the lust-worthy centerpiece of Kia's campaign for the FIFA World Cup, taking place this year in her native Brazil.
Kia is sponsoring this year's international soccer championship, and is kicking off its campaign with two ads in which Lima does her best to convert Americans into futbol fans and players. Which seem like a losing battle to begin with, but the least believable part of it very well might be that an international supermodel like Adriana would be driving around in an Optima or Sorento and not in a Mercedes or Maserati convertible. Of course that doesn't mean we mind watching her try, and so can you in the pair of clips below.

Kia decides on Mexico plant location for small car assembly

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 18:31:00 EST

Mexico has long been a hot spot for auto manufacturing, but the country's fortunes have been boosted lately, with Honda, Mazda and Nissan recently adding factories there, and BMW is said to be poised to join them soon. Now, new reports indicate that Kia might start building south of the border to keep up with demand.
Insiders speaking to Reuters claim that the Korean automaker is very close to striking a deal to build a factory for two small models in Monterrey, Mexico, with a 300,000-vehicle annual capacity. Assembly could reportedly begin as soon as 21 months after ground is broken.
If true, Kia has done a fantastic job of keeping the deal under wraps. The only hint at anything like this brewing was a rumor last year that Hyundai may have investigation building a factory in Mexico. The company currently operates a factory in Georgia that builds the Optima and Sorento.

Dancer who portrays Kia hamster guilty of disability fraud

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 14:30:00 EST

Tisk, tisk, dancing hamster. Kia's trio of anthropomorphic rodents may be down a member as the actor that portrays one of the dancing hamsters has been arrested on charges of disability fraud.
According to The Huffington Post, 27-year-old LeRoy Barnes accepted over $51,000 in disability payments following a workplace injury in 2010. While accepting the money, he's accused of performing under aliases, in addition to his costumed work for Kia.
"Fraudulently collecting disability benefits is not only illegal, it disrespects legitimately injured Californians who are unable to work," Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a release obtained by HuffPo.

Minivan market not what it used to be, but margins make up for it

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 08:34:00 EST



Residual values for last year's minivans are higher than they were in 2000.
Much like the station wagon was the shuttle of Baby Boomer generation, the minivan has been the primary means of transport for Generations X and Y. Just as the boomers abandoned the Country Squire, though, those kids that were toted around in Grand Caravans and Windstars are adults, and they certainly don't want to be seen in the cars their parents drove.

65k Kia Sorento models face NHTSA probe for shattering sunroof

Tue, 20 May 2014 16:32:00 EST

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration isn't ready to give up its investigation into spontaneously shattering sunroofs in the 2011-2013 Kia Sorento yet. In fact, it has actually broadened it into a full engineering analysis affecting as many as 65,347 vehicles.
The investigation started in 2013 when NHTSA received 15 complaints about breaking sunroofs in the crossover. Since then, the regulator requested data from Kia and found that there have been 95 complaints of the roof abruptly braking. In many of those cases, the vehicle was moving at the time. People have been injured when this happens; NHTSA found 14 incidents where at least one person in the vehicle suffered from cuts or scrapes.
According to the investigation document, Kia also conducted its own internal review but couldn't find any defects. The company claims that the only way for the roof to break is for an object to strike it. Although, it does admit that the large surface of the sunroof on the Sorento could be the cause of the high frequency of damage. NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation isn't convinced and calls it "concerning." It's pressing forward to find more details in the engineering analysis.

Kia expects US to be Soul EV's top market

Tue, 13 May 2014 18:32:00 EST

While its sister brand Hyundai invests in hydrogen fuel cell technology, Kia is entering the battery-powered electric vehicle market with the new Soul EV. The Korean automaker plans to sell some 5,000 units of its first electric vehicle around the world. While it's not saying exactly what proportion it hopes to sell in (or how many it's allocating to) any individual market, the latest reports indicate that it expects the United States to be its biggest market.
Part of that may come down to the growing popularity of electric vehicles in America, but also to the substantial incentives offered by federal and local government agencies towards buying an EV. Though the Soul EV retails for a reported 42.5 million won in South Korea - equivalent to less than $41,500 at today's rates, of which the battery alone accounts for about 40 percent - incentives will mean that the actual cost to a buyer in the US will be about half that, although Kia hasn't announced official pricing yet.
The latest electric vehicle on the market is based on the existing Kia Soul hatchback, a vehicle chosen due to its packaging vis-à-vis more conventionally shaped vehicles. The 27 kWh lithium ion battery pack adds about 330 pounds to the vehicle's curb weight, resulting in a 0-62 time of 11.2 seconds and a 92-mile range. The Kia Soul EV will initially be sold only in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland.

Kia, Mercedes, Carmax poised to return to NBA after league bans Sterling

Wed, 30 Apr 2014 14:15:00 EST

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver dispatched some swift justice yesterday on the bigoted owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling. The 80-year-old billionaire was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for making strongly racist remarks that were recorded on tape. Commissioner Silver has also vowed to try and force Sterling to sell the Clippers in a bid to sever any and all connection between him and the NBA.
Sponsors had rapidly abandoned the Clippers, with covers like the one above going up on sponsor logos during a playoff game against the Golden State Warriors earlier this week, due to the strong and vocal public condemnation of Sterling and his views. With the punishments in place, though, the door has been opened for Kia, the southern California dealer group for Mercedes-Benz and used-car retailer CarMax (among other, less auto-related organizations like State Farm, Red Bull and Sprint) to renew their sponsorship with the team.
"We stand with the Commissioner, the league, the players and the fans condemning Mr. Sterling's views. We look forward to a positive resolution and continuing our relationships within the NBA community, including our league and team sponsorships and our personal ties to [Clippers star] Blake Griffin," Kia said in a statement obtained by Automotive News.

Kia and CarMax pull LA Clipper sponsorships in wake of alleged Sterling comments

Mon, 28 Apr 2014 15:31:00 EST

There's fallout across the automotive advertising world today as companies react to alarming, racially insensitive statements alleged to have been made Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers franchise. Last Friday, entertainment website TMZ published excerpts from an audio recording, allegedly between Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano, in which the Clippers owner said, among other things, that he didn't want her to bring black people to his games, including LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson. Sterling has yet to respond publicly to the allegations.
The story quickly gained steam over the weekend, and this Monday it has seen Kia Motors, auto sales website CarMax and insurance giant State Farm all pull sponsorship activities with the Clippers.
In a statement Kia said the alleged statements by Sterling were, "offensive and reprehensible," calling them "inconsistent with our views and values." Kia says it is "suspending" its advertising and sponsorship activities with the team, though has yet to clarify if that suspension includes commercials featuring NBA star and Clippers power forward Blake Griffin.