Kia Motors Invests in Aurora Innovation Following FCA

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It seems like only days ago that the auto market placed its focus on Aurora Innovation, a self-driving startup among many currently entering the race for the first self-driving vehicle for public retail. Although there are already companies out there testing their vehicles on public streets, and even programs like Waymo One offer the everyday citizens (in Phoenix, Arizona) to be chauffeured from place-to-place by a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, the flagship of the Waymo self-driving fleet. As it turns out, the self-driving car startup company Aurora Innovation was just running the company’s series B financing round, and two more large names in the auto industry made an investment – the Hyundai Motor Group and Kia Motors Corp.

That’s right. According to a news release, Kia Motors is getting in on the ground floor with Aurora Innovation. With their recent partnership also fueled by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), this brings Aurora’s total for this round of funding up to $600 million. It’s going to be interesting to see how FCA intends to work with Aurora and whether or not the company will be sharing technology across the automakers or developing technology for each. In the aforementioned news release, companies discussed the integration of the Aurora Driver technology into Hyundai’s fuel cell vehicle NEXO.

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New Design for 2021 Kia Optima

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We can’t say we’re too surprised that the 2021 Kia Optima is getting a bit of a makeover. After the 2019 Kia Optima was released with little changes, the old sedan was starting to show its age. In an effort to bring it back to the forefront of the Kia Motors full compact car lineup, the next model year will show come with a few changes. After our comparison of the 2018 Kia Stinger and the 2018 Kia Optima, we’re curious how the two will match up in the 2020/2021 model year.

2020 Kia Optima Preview

Kia Motors has been talking a lot about its SUVs and crossovers ever since the 2020 Kia Telluride took center stage. Now is the perfect time for a makeover while no one’s looking at the sedans and coupes that are also a part of the Kia Motors lineup. Set for 2021, the new Kia Optima design will feature a new sporty front and rear fascia. Highlighting this look are slanted headlights inspired by the overseas Kia Ceed and a full-width LED taillight bar.

The overall design of the Optima has changed as well. It no longer looks like a sedan. If anything, judging by the picture above, it’s certainly starting to take on some sports car undertones. Kia Motors Designer Byungchul Juh has gone on record stating that the Kia Optima for 2020 is just the beginning for Kia Motors working towards a completely fresh design approach for future vehicles.

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The 2019 Kia Stinger Earns Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS

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It’s been a while since any good news about the Kia Stinger came out. The award-winning sports car had a limited edition come out, the Special Limited Edition Stinger GTS, but other than that, the Kia Telluride has been taking the spotlight. Well, we’ve got good news. The 2019 Kia Stinger just received a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Kia Motors has been improving safety standards for a while now, and with the Kia Stinger being one of the first Kia models to introduce their Kia Drive Wise suite, this is a sports car that’s as safe to drive as it is fun.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

If unfamiliar with the name, the IIHS is a trusted organization known rating vehicle safety by putting vehicles through five impact-crash simulations designed to test a variety of safety standards and situations. There is a total of six tests that the IIHS conducts for rating safety in crash avoidance and mitigation – small overlap front tests for the driver and passenger sides, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints. In addition to how well a vehicle performs in these simulations, the technology provided by the automaker is also taken into account.

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Autotrader Names Kia Motors on 10 Best Non-Luxury CPO Programs List

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Kia Motors is an automaker known for a number of things in the market today – stylish, affordable vehicles like the 2020 Kia Soul EX Designer Collection, futuristic technology like V-Touch by Kia at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, and their Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Program. Haven’t heard of it? Why, it’s only one of the best programs for used vehicles on the market. Having been around for years and having recently extended their CPO program, Kia Motors has been recently named on Autotrader’s list of the “10 Best Non-Luxury CPO Programs”.

Autotrader

The name should be familiar to any car buyer in the market today. Autotrader is an online marketplace, that like many other websites out there, provides automotive consumers with research and information about vehicles in the market – new, used, and CPO – but they’re mainly known for helping drivers sell and buy used vehicles. When it comes to identifying the 10 Best Non-Luxury and 10 Best Luxury CPO programs, Autotrader focuses on what matters.

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The New Kia Seltos Has Been Revealed

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There have been some photos of the new small SUV from Kia Motors floating around the internet lately. Not wanting to tease any more overseas concepts from Kia Motors, we decided to wait on this one before writing up an article. Although not 100-percent guaranteed, according to autoblog.com, a U.S. market launch of the new Kia model with a global rollout early 2020. Called the Kia Seltos, check out what could be the next popular funky car for a younger generation.

Where Does It Fit?

Bigger than a Kia Soul but smaller than a Kia Sportage, the Kia Seltos first appeared at the 2018 Auto Expo in India.

According to autoblog.com, the vehicle was “specifically ‘created for the millennial generation’ with a ‘wide range of features and technologies suited to younger buyers,’ and is somehow promised to offer ‘the space and capabilities of a traditional SUV in a compact package.’”

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Kia and SiriusXM at the 2019 EDM Festivals

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Who doesn’t know about the annual Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Festivals? They take place every year in multiple locations, and this year (2019) three of the most popular EDM Music Festivals this summer take place in Tampa, FL, May 25-26 with the Sunset Music Festival; the Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago, June 7-9; and the Electric Zoo Music Festival in New York City, August 30 – September 1. Yes, sadly, the EDM for Florida has passed but the Kia Soul Station is still following along. That’s right, if anyone out there went to the EDM in Tampa, Kia had a pretty interesting setup powered by SiriusXM.

Goin’ to the Car Wash

Wash, wash yeah! During the ultimate EDM music festival, Kia Motors has set up an immersive activity designed to provide festival-goers with an unforgettable experience. Made to help partygoers refuel and refresh in a fun way, the activity features amazing music, one-of-a-kind glam rooms and a beautifully designed space that promotes the 2020 Kia Soul and SiriusXM. The Kia Soul Station (Powered by SiriusXM) has some seriously outrageous things going on.

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The Kia Telluride is a Game Changer

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The all-new 2020 Kia Telluride SUV has been winning awards and making headlines in automotive journalism since its release. Earlier this month, the Kia got some street cred in Texas during the TAWA Auto Roundup with the Kia Telluride. Just last week, the Kia Telluride won awards during the 2019 Northwest Automotive Press Association annual Mudfest. It would seem May is the month for the Telluride because the new SUV has received its third best-in-show award from the Texas Motor Press Association, during the first-ever Texas Off-Road Invitational. It won’t take long for people to forget what makes the 2020 Kia Telluride such a winner.

“Jurors were impressed by the Telluride’s off-road prowess, which rivaled that of traditionally rough-and-ready SUVs in muddy, steep, rocky, and sandy terrain…It also took on the challenge of driving through hub-high water with ease. For Texans, it is important to be able to easily transition from urban to suburban to ranch lifestyles, including off-roading scenarios. It’s also important that a vehicle is priced right for its abilities and build quality. The Telluride proved to Texas Motor Press Association jurors that it is the best combination of those qualities of all the vehicles tested during two days of competition.” – Eileen Falkenberg-Hull, vice president, Texas Motor Press Association.

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So What IS the EX Designer Collection?

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So, what exactly IS the EX Designer Collection Package Kia Motors has been touting with its new marketing campaign, “The new Species of Soul”? When the 2020 Kia Soul was first revealed, we got a little look at the future Kia GT Line and X-Line, but not a whole lot has been said about this new EX-Designer line. From what we can tell, Kia is starting to make a shift that allows consumers to get a little more bang for their buck, as well as entering a new lineup where personalization and customization are King.

 

EX Designer Collection

In the commercial seen above, “The New Species of Soul” shows off the 2020 Kia Soul GT, Soul X, and Soul EX Designer. The 2020 Kia Soul GT has a sportier exterior, black side mirrors, red accents, narrow headlights, and a grille that has a more angular design. Adding a more rugged look, the Soul X has fog lights, a rounded grille, unique wheels, and a roof rail for going off-road. The EX Designer…well it feels a little out-of-place.

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Should Kia Enter the Growing Truck Market?

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In early May, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Kia Motors America, Michael Cole, spoke with MotorTrend in an interview and hinted at the automaker getting a pickup truck of their own. Who knew pickup trucks would make such a comeback with SUVs and crossovers over-saturating the market? Although Cole refused to confirm or deny the possibility of a pickup truck with a Kia nameplate, enthusiasts began to talk, and an artist by the name of St00k on KiaTellurideForums put together a rendering of a Kia Telluride Lifestyle truck. Now that the render has been circulating, there are a couple of key points Kia should keep in mind if they do enter the truck market.

Functionality

This is the big one. This is what makes all the other points on this list mute. With the way the truck market is shaping up, and with the current resurrection of the midsize pickup truck, entering the market is like walking into a minefield. An automaker will sink or swim, it’s a gamble, and variety may be the only saving grace. Although one should be wary of spreading their resources too thin, putting all their eggs in one basket isn’t a failsafe either. If Kia entered the truck market, the midsize truck segment is the obvious choice with competition starting to bud, but full-size and heavy-duty trucks have their own potential.

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2020 Kia Telluride Win Awards at NWAPA Mudfest

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The 2020 Kia Telluride was a vehicle long in waiting, popping up all over the place like New York Fashion Week 2018 and at SEMA 2018 with five Telluride concepts. When Kia Motors finally released the large SUV in March 2019, the Kia Telluride spearheaded their sales, with a report of 55,814 vehicles sold – a tenth of which came from the new Telluride SUV, with 5080 units sold. If that wasn’t enough of a celebration, the Kia Telluride was quick to get some street cred in Texas from the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) during the TAWA Auto Roundup. Most recently, another organization made up of automotive and media journalists concluded, the Annual Northwest Automotive Press Association “Mudfest”.

A mudfest? What could an SUV possibly have to do with that? Wouldn’t that sort of thing belong to off-road vehicles? Well, yes, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) did show up at the mudfest, and performed fairly well. However, the Northwest Automotive Press Association, also known as NWAPA, is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada. With members from a variety of sources, representing more than 700 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups, and the internet, NWAPA also has a primarily focus on testing and reporting on SUVs and crossovers. The 2020 Kia Telluride was among the 22 vehicles from 14 manufacturers tested at mudfest.

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