Kia drops ‘Motors’ from name on path to rebrand


TOKYO — Kia is dumping “Motors” from its corporate name as part of a global brand relaunch meant to position the South Korea automaker as a mover in electric vehicles and new mobility.

In changing its name to Kia Corp., from Kia Motors Corp., the company is reaching for a new identity that better reflects its push into new fields, CEO Ho Sung Song said in news release. The move follows the adoption of a new company logo and slogan this month.

“Changing our corporate name and logo is not only a cosmetic improvement,” said Song, who took the helm last April. “It represents us expanding our horizons and establishing new and emerging businesses that meet and exceed the diverse needs of our customers worldwide.”

The new direction targets a mass ramp-up of EVs through 2025 and a rapid expansion into what the company calls purpose-built vehicles, or PBVs. These are runabouts dedicated to new mobility enterprises such as ride-hailing, robotaxis and on-the-go e-commerce.

Under its Plan S midterm business plan, Kia wants to build an EV lineup of 11 models by 2025, with seven EV-only products by 2027. Kia hopes to grab 6.6 percent of the global battery-electric vehicle market by 2025 and rack global annual sales of 500,000 EVs by 2026.

Kia wants EVs to generate 20 percent of its worldwide sales by 2025 and a quarter in 2029.

The company said its first dedicated EV will be delivered in the first quarter of this year, built on a new Electric-Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP, shared with Hyundai.

It will be a crossover-inspired design, with a range of more than 310 miles and a high-speed charging time under 20 minutes, Kia said. The model will be the first bearing Kia’s new logo.

The company did not say under what testing protocol the EV’s range was calculated.

Kia, which traces its history back more than 75 years as Korea’s first domestic manufacturer of bicycles, also wants to become a leader in PBVs. These will be specialized vehicles based on flexible “skateboard” platforms with modular bodies, Kia said. They will cater to corporate and fleet buyers, and Kia plans to leverage its tie-ups with mobility players such as Canoo and Arrival.

Kia expects demand for PBVs to soar fivefold by 2030 due to e-commerce and car sharing.

Another piece of Kia’s plan is expanding into businesses that revolve around urban transfer stations where commuters from the suburbs switch to electrified new mobility vehicles from their gasoline-burning ones. Long term, Kia plans to operate robotaxis and on-demand roboshuttles from these mobility hubs. It plans to build on partnerships it has with companies such as Grab, the Southeast Asian ride-hailing service, and WiBLE, a car-sharing venture in Spain.

The South Korean company said it will also promote more sustainable production through better use of clean energy and recycled materials. But it did not provide any concrete targets.

“Today we start putting this vision into action with the launch of our new brand purpose and strategy for the future,” Song said. “It also means adapting our working culture, enabling the creativity of all our employees and establishing an inspiring work environment.”

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