Kia aims to become top auto brand among Hispanics

Toronto, Mar 21 (EFE).- South Korean automaker Kia, which has experienced spectacular growth in the United States during recent years, wants to become the preferred brand among North American Hispanics, the company executive told Efe.

To achieve that goal, the firm is increasing its presence in Latino media, Kia's U.S. marketing director, Tim Chaney, said in an interview with Efe.

One sign of this is the recent agreement with Univision to sponsor the beauty competition program "Nuestra belleza latina," one of the most successful reality shows on Hispanic television in the United States.

The accord, announced on March 11, will include the sponsoring of races that the program participants will compete in during the season using Kia vehicles.

Chaney told Efe that the South Korean manufacturer is fully immersed in the process of revamping its multicultural communications strategy and emphasized the importance Kia places on the Hispanic community in North America.

"The agreement is part of the plan to invest much more money and effort in Hispanic media," Chaney said.

"There's a great growth opportunity. You can't be part of the current predominant cultural trend if you don't invest in the Hispanic market," he added.

Kia is in the midst of an aggressive growth plan in North America.

Last year, for the first time, sales of Kia automobiles in the United States exceeded 500,000 units. Chaney emphasized that the company's share of the U.S. market has grown "for 18 consecutive years."

Part of that success is due to the market acceptance of its U.S.-made Optima model.