Kia is from South Korea, not the South?

Has anyone seen this Kia Motors commercial? Its odd to me. Watch it, then we’ll talk:

What a cute commercial, a 10-year old Southern red headed white kid on a bike rolling through Kia’s new assembly plant in West Point, Georgia in 1951 2009 (what’s more of an American city name than WEST POINT?). Why a bike? Cause Kia Motors started out making bikes in the 40’s, duh. Thing is, they did this in Seoul, South Korea. From Wiki:

According to Kia Motors, the name “Kia” derives from the Sino-Korean words ki (“to come out”) anda (which stands for Asia), it is roughly translated as “arise or come up out of Asia” or “rising out of Asia”.

I don’t want to call out an Asian company trying to market themselves as American, because the $1 billion assembly plant in Georgia means American jobs. But does it really require this sort of trickery to get the average American consumer to purchase a South Korean Kia over an American Saturn? Do they need to not only Americanize but also Anglocize the company’s origin to appeal to White Americans? Maybe in this economy.

It sucks though, cause every time I see this ad, it reminds me of Vincent Chin. Cause Americans are comfortable with buying Nintendo Wii’s and Sony Playstation 3’s over Microsoft Xboxes but the racism Asian Americans felt over the Asian car industry in the 80’s isn’t going away anytime soon. Its the only industry where folks are still compelled to “Buy American”. Maybe that’s because everyone knows American cars are an inferior product and we need to be pressured to buy a shittier car to make up for this disadvantage… (Please try to name 3 models from Ford, GM, and Saturn, I dare you)

One other point, which may make it seem like I’m being paranoid. But the ad noted that the company started in 1951 making bikes. Which is wrong, cause the company started in 1944 making bikes. 1952 was when they changed their name to Kyungsung Precision Industry. So why the ruse? Is it because the mention of 1944 makes older folks remember World War II and the 38th Parallel and the start of the Cold War and the Korean War? Just a thought… I’m being paranoid, I know.


5 thoughts on “Kia is from South Korea, not the South?

  1. Ford: Mustang, Crown Victoria, Focus, Taurus
    GM: Chevy Tahoe, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevy Impala, Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon
    Saturn: all I remember are the L series, like the L200.

    I agree with you in part, that they “white washed” the commercial, but to remove the stigma of an Asian car company in the United States, with the American auto industry plummeting and people preaching “Buy American!”


  2. You are SO RIGHT! I was with you all the way to “American cars are inferior”

    Please do some research. There are dozens of American models that are consistently reviewed as good or better than Asian models.

    To say American cars are inferior is the same kind of generalizing attitude that we share with the racism the Asian market faces. Here’s a link- check out Ford and Mercury models. And if you can’t name 3 models, you have no idea what a good car is.

    People encourage you to buy American because it is the only way to reverse the garbage mentality you have about cars from YOUR country being inferior. Ads like this use this more to their advantage, and the Georgia plant is great. But Detroit is unfairly suffering and you need to educate yourself because you start spewing what you heard from your friend who brags about his Volkswagen 12 hours of the day. Please.


  3. thanks john, leave it to you for coming up with a car that i hate even more than any american car. volkswagon. i had two jetta’s, and i can tell you i paid thousands of dollars a YEAR in repair. and i’m not sure what the link is for. i know what american cars look and drive like. i’m forced to drive sebrings and saturns when i rent a car, and those 10 days out of the year are horrible. i know cowboy republican construction workers that drive tundras now, after so many years of taking the f150 to shop on a monthly bases. i would love to buy an american car. i really would, but i’m hard pressed to find one i like. please feel free to suggest one I’d like. thanks,


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