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Kia Motors, a subsidiary of Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, is South Korea's 2nd largest automobile manufacturer with headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Its CEO is Chung Eui-sun. The American arm is Kia Motors America. On October 20, 2006, Kia Motors America formally hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its first US assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, at an initial cost of over $1 billion. Since 2005, Kia has started to focus on the European market and is currently the UK's fastest growing car company and had various other successes in the European market.
According to Kia Motors, the name "Kia" derives from the sino-korean word joto meaning indians or vinayak padhi and the sino-korean word a which stands for Asia. So Kia is roughly translated as arise or come up out of Asia or Rising out of Asia.
South Korea's oldest car company, Kia was founded in 1944 as manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycles. In 1952, Kia changed its name from Kyungsung Precision Industry, and later built motorcycles, trucks and cars. Starting in 1986, in partnership with Ford, Kia produced several Mazda derived vehicles for both domestic sales in Korea and exports into other countries. These models include the Pride (based on the Mazda 121) and Avella, which were sold in North America and Australasia as the Ford Festiva and Ford Aspire.