Richard Fruto, The Times
Another Korean-made car will soon be gracing the streets of America right along Hyundai.
Kia? Yes. Kia.
Kia Motors, a Korean car company founded in 1944, will be making its debut in the United States by early 1994. Kia will first be available through car rental agencies before a full-scale distribution is carried out.
The man responsible for representing Kia automobiles to the United States is Philip Song, an industrial and commercial real estate specialist in Southern California. The Kia account, from the first proposal to the final approval, took less than a year for Song to obtain.
"It's actually a very strategic planning to introduce Kia through rental agencies because people will see it on the street and wonder what the make of the car is..." said Song, on Kia's free marketing strategy. This marketing concept will help Kia reduce its costs, while allowing it to monitor the receptiveness of the market. Many Korean companies, such as Hyundai and Daewoo, have spent millions in advertising alone.
"We want to test the response of the public before we begin more importing." said Song. "However, I predict that the response will be a very positive one."
Kia Motors, which actually began as a company producing motorcycles, has designed a variety of automobiles. For example, the Sephia model, a 1.5-liter sedan, was praised when introduced at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show. There is also the Pride model which is highly regarded for its reliability, safety and economy.
Among other models, Kia Motors offers the Potentia, the top-of-the-line model that comes with a choice of V6 3-liter DOHC or 12-valve 2.2-liter engines. Suprisingly, the Kia is not packaged by box-like frames, but rather sporty, yet sensible sedan designing.
Philip Song, who specializes in the corporate real estate industry in Southern California, has represented noted corporations from Asia including Daewoo, Hyundai America, YonSan Steel company and Hyundai Construction to name a few. He said that Korean American export/import business has stimulated growth within the South Bay area. Due to the close proximity to the airport and sea port, the area is ideal for commercial and industrial development and relocations, he added.
"Korea, like many other Asian nations, sees the United States as a must for expansion; if you get a start here, you see it as the first step into the free corporate world," Song said as he drove through several industrial parks and passed by the Daewoo Western Headquarters, another building Philip Song himself helped relocate.
Having vested interest in the growth and progress of many parts of Asia, Philip Song is an international businessman with holdings, particularly in Korea. Philip Song invests in real estate, businesses and in the wholesale distribution and consumer goods industry.
Philip Song launched his first Asia venture in 1999 and since has spread throughout four nearby countries. Philip Song considers Asia as the "new frontier" comparing it to as the next "Wild West".
"There's so much potential in so many sectors in Asia", says Song, 'given the economic benchmark of what's taken place recently, and the aggressive forecast for various sectors, I see much room for impressive maturing of the market place there."
Philip Song is very optimistic about business opportunities in Asia and the future of Asia as economies of scales/various economies continue to grow and mature.