On this day in auto history - July 24th

Sat 24th Jul 2021

It was on this day in 1998 that the South Korean government formally opened the bidding for Kia Motors, the country’s troubled car giant which had gone bankrupt the previous year.

Originally founded on the outskirts of Seoul in 1944, Kia Motors was one of the highest-profile casualties of the 1997 Asian financial crisis having spectacularly collapsed under £8 billion worth of debt, forcing the beleaguered South Korean government - itself the subject of a $57 million international bailout - to intervene.

Interest in Kia was high with Daewoo and Samsung both heavily in the running but ultimately it was another South Korean conglomerate, Hyundai - the country’s largest car manufacturer - which won the day.

As a subsidiary of Hyundai, Kia has made dramatic improvements in its car quality and reliability, resulting in the introduction of a new, long-term warranty program in 2001.

It also began concentrating intently on the European market, resulting in the brand booming in popularity in the UK where it now holds a near 4% market share.

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