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Kia gives flagship car to Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LOS ANGELES, June 5 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors America, the U.S. sales arm of South Korea's Kia Motors Corp., said Thursday it has presented its flagship Cadenza sedan to Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds.

"There is no reason to stick to a luxury vehicle from a premium brand just because I'm a highly paid major league baseball player," Choo said in a ceremony held at Cincinnati Reds' home field in Cincinnati, Ohio on Wednesday, in an apparent reference to BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

He said he has been satisfied with Kia cars that he has been driving a Kia vehicle over the past six years, and the performance and design of the Cadenza do not lag behind of those of a premium brand.

Motor Trend, a U.S. automobile magazine, has picked the Cadenza as the best sedan by comparing it with the Toyota Avalon, the Chevrolet Impala, the Chrysler 300S and the Ford Taurus in terms of ride and handling, efficiency, interior, safety and value.

"A huge value proposition, solid fuel efficiency, near-luxury ride, and pretty sheetmetal make the Kia our near-unanimous choice for first place," the magazine said in its July edition posted on its Web site.

Kia's move is the latest sports marketing campaign by South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group to raise its brand awareness among U.S. consumers.

In April, Hyundai Motor America, the U.S. sales arm of Hyundai Motor Co., gave its flagship Genesis sedan and Santa Fe crossover vehicle to Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2011, Hyundai gave a Veracruz crossover vehicle to South Korean slugger Lee Dae-ho of the Lotte Giants. Currently, Lee is a first baseman for Japan's Orix Buffaloes.

Hyundai and Kia are the two major flagship units of South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest carmaker.

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