Do the Korean vehicles made by KIA have trouble selling in the US because of its name?

Its name reminds me of the problems that Chevrolet had in selling its NOVA in Latin America… or is that just a legend?
No va = it doesn’t go. KIA = killed in action

Not that I know of, but the brand name is almost always shown as “Kia”, not “KIA”.

From 12,000 in 1993 to 650,000 in 2016. Pretty much the same trajectory as Hyundai, with many models shared between the two brands.

Perhaps Kia may sound like Ikea and give people images of cheap stuff, but I have never heard of any relationship drawn between KIA and Kia, so never heard such a legend. After all KIA is pronounced either Ka Eye Ay or more likely killed in action, neither sound like Kia.

However like Hyundia, Kai started as a small unknown in the US brand, but made some quality cars, which allowed them (Hyundia) to really break into the minds as a quality manufacturer. Kia is following that model. Both companies have national pride on the line also as they feel like they should be able to build world class cars as the manufacturers of Japan do.

But the problem for Kia is 2 fold, 1 is they are on the newer side in the US market (compared to Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, and the also late to the party Hyundia), and Japan has stollen (or ran away with) the quality crown. It’s hard to build a reputation for quality as a newer underdog when others are established.

This would also explain why the Yugo sold so well here in the States.

I’ve had 2 Kias and never did it cross my mind that it had the same letter sequence as K.I.A. Probably because it’s not an acronym in very much use. Then again I would probably not have made the connection if it were “Mia”, either, since that’s a name, but probably would have had it been called “Doa”.

Just a legend, debunked many times yet it persists.

It’s just a legend.

The Yugo didn’t sell because it was a piece of crap.

But… the name!

LOL at many of the posts, I actually own a Hyundai Elantra

If there’s a name that conceivably could’ve discouraged sales it wasn’t the Nova but rather the AMC Matador.

It bluntly means “killer”. Not specific to bullfights.

Except that ‘matador’ has a very specific meaning, to English- and Spanish-speaking people alike, and it’s not ‘killer.’

asesino = killer en español

matador is pretty specific to the bullring… (although could vary by country)

Kia has about as much trouble with their “acronym” as Ford (Found On Road Dead) does.

I thought it was Fix Or Repair Daily.

My current car and my last car were Kias. They are pretty good cars.


The first Kias brought into the US were, too, although not nearly as badly. That gave the brand an unfortunate image that it still hasn’t completely shaken, even though its cars are actually Hyundais under a different name. The Hyundai brand is well-regarded and a good seller, though, so it doesn’t really matter to the shareholders what name is on their products.

“FORD stands for ‘Fix it again, Tony’”. – Dale Gribble