It was only three years ago when KIA drivers who had pulled up at the lights were given a very special smile from neighbouring vehicles. The reason was the cheapo image that the Koreans had built up over years by making bad copies of successful European cars.
Okay, so at least KIA doesn't manufacture microwaves or toasters like erstwhile competitor Daewoo (and we all saw where that can lead to). For some time now, Daewoo has been selling its 'toasters' under the grand name of Chevrolet.
But since a good two years, KIA has been in the fast lane. The awful Korean mish-mash pong of previous years has wafted away. A modern KIA is styled in Europe and specially designed for the European market. In the tracks of the very successful C'eed range (compared with the Pro C'eed, even an A3 looks fairly old), the new Soul is the second litter where success seems to be pre-programmed.
Innovative concept and trendy styling hit a market niche fully head-on that nobody had provided for: that of micro SUVs! The KIA is faster than the similar concept that Toyota presented with their Urban Cruiser at the Paris Salon and which is positioned below the RAV4. The role of a trendsetter could then well suit the future image of KIA.
You can still always think about toasters, once they have finally got an image
As is indeed the case when there is nothing more to lose in terms of image.