Kia Vehicle Information:
Auto Glass OE Manufacturer: Carlite
Kia Motors is South Korea’s second largest auto manufacturer, after Hyundai. The Kia Corporation sold just under 3 million vehicles in 2012, and sells vehicles in 172 countries around the world. Kia has annual revenues of $42 billion US, and is South Korea’s oldest auto manufacturer. The company has a rich history in building cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. Kia opened its first automotive plant in 1973, and began producing cars in a deal with Ford. The financial crisis in Asia during the late 1990s resulted in Kia going bankrupt in 1997 and a subsequent buyout by Hyundai in 1998. Hyundai now owns one third of Kia. The 2006 hiring of German Design Award winning Peter Schreyer as Chief Design Officer has resulted in Kia overhauling its design, with an emphasis on building brand recognition. At the forefront of this redesign was the iconic “Tiger Nose” grille design that now comes standard on all Kia vehicles.
Popular Makes and Models
Kia has produced a variety of popular consumer vehicles in recent years, with a lineup consisting of sleek compacts and boxy SUVs alike. Among its most popular offerings are the Rio and the Soul.
The Kia Rio is a small car with big features. Starting at just $13,600, the Rio gets 38 miles per gallon in the city and 53 miles per gallon on the highway. The 1.6L engine offers 138 horsepower. Sporting six gears and available with an automatic or manual transmission, the Rio features a rearview parking assistance camera and electronic stability control. The Rio also comes equipped with wireless Bluetooth technology, SiriusXM Traffic navigation, support for USB devices, and Idle Stop & Go technology, which automatically stops the engine when the car is traveling at speeds less than one mile per hour.
The Kia Soul is perhaps the brand’s most recognizable and iconic offering. The Soul’s boxy design, sleek name, and great variety of features make this SUV a great vehicle for young families, especially when you consider that it’s also budget-friendly. Starting at $14,700, The Soul comes with a 1.6L or 2L engine and allows buyers the option of a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. Boasting a combined fuel economy of 27 miles per gallon, the Soul features a fuel management system that automatically modifies transmission and engine systems to max out the vehicle’s mileage. With this increased fuel economy, there is no need for a large gas tank, which allows more room for cargo storage. The Soul has a cargo capacity of 19 cubic feet when the rear seats are up, or 49.5 cubic feet when they’re folded down, making it a great vehicle for hauling camping gear or sports equipment. North of the border, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada awarded the Soul the Best New Family Car Under $30,000 at the 2013 Car of the Year Awards.
What’s Coming in 2014
Kia has already released five vehicles for the 2014 model year, including a new Soul and Optima. 2014 will see Kia add one more new vehicle to its lineup: the K900. To be released in the spring of 2014, the 2015 Kia K900 is a luxury sedan that will sport rear-wheel drive (great for speed freaks) and a V8 Tau engine that generates 400 horsepower. The 8-speed automatic transmission uses a shift-by-wire design often found in BMW and Mercedes luxury cars. This type of transmission removes the mechanical connection between the transmission and the shifter, replacing it with an electronic control system. The result is faster gear shifting with less resistance.
This year at the Detroit Auto Show, Kia unveiled a concept car that could shake up the company’s image as a consumer auto maker: a six-speed manual, 315-horsepower sports car with rear wheel drive and a turbo-charged engine. Appropriately christened the GT4 Stinger, Tom Kearns, the chief designer, describes the vehicle as a tribute to a simpler time, when “driving a car was a visceral experience that wasn’t muted by electronic gimmickry.” Although the Stinger is not currently slated for production, Kia has a reputation of staying true to past concept cars when developing new production models. If history repeats itself, the Stinger could hit the assembly line by the end of this year and see dealership floors as early as 2015.
Windshield and Windshield Manufacturer Information
Kia uses Carlite glass in its windshields. Carlite also supplies glass for Ford, Mercury, Nissan, Jaguar, and Lincoln vehicles. Carlite produces a great variety of auto glass products, and is a leading manufacturer in noise-reducing automotive glass. Carlex purchased the Carlite brand from its previous manufacturer, Zeledyne, in 2011. Carlex Glass is Carlite’s exclusive licensed distributor for aftermarket OEM glass. The assembly line glass products that Carlite sells to Kia are the same aftermarket replacement parts that Carlex sells to consumers. Carlex itself is a subsidiary of the Japanese company Central Glass, a multinational corporation that has been manufacturing glass since 1958.
New Features That Affect Windshield Replacement Prices
The 2014 Kia Soul features acoustic laminated glass, also known as an acoustic interlayer. This type of glass is engineered to increase insulation and thereby absorb and reflect exterior noise. Carlite’s acoustic interlayer glass has been proven to reduce ambient noise inside a vehicle by up to 6 decibels, approximately four times quieter than the ambient noise one would hear without this acoustic interlayer. Opting for an acoustic laminated windshield will likely drive up the cost of windshield repair.
In some situations, a rain-sensing windshield is about on par with or more expensive than a typical windshield. The 2015 Kia K900 is expected to have automatic windshield wipers that rely on a rain-sensing windshield. This will likely be a factory standard option. When installing an aftermarket rain-sensing windshield, the cost of replacement is usually lower if the vehicle came with a rain-sensing windshield as a factory standard option. Thus, K900 owners will be able to replace their rain-sensing windshields for a reasonable fee, should the need arise.
Although it has only been around since the 1940s, Kia Motors is South Korea’s second largest car company and one of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. With great vehicles on offer such as the Rio and the Soul, as well as the new K900 and its first-ever muscle car, Kia is in prime shape to do great things on a worldwide stage. Kia has become a household name over the past twenty years, and has even outsold larger brands like Chrysler. The K900’s rain sensing windshield will likely be factory standard, making it easier for owners to replace the windshield with a similar product in the future. Consumers who opt for the 2014 Soul will likely pay a premium for windshield replacement, although the noise reduction technology may be worth it. If you’re looking at a new vehicle this coming year, Kia definitely has “The Power to Surprise.”
Kia 2014 Models: