- Rising Korean football stars in European leagues to represent the Kia brand
(SEOUL) June 23, 2005 -- Kia Motors Corporation announced that it has entered into an agreement to endorse rising young football stars playing for top European professional teams to help raise the profile of the Kia brand among international fans of “the world’s greatest game.” Four Korean football stars who are currently gaining tremendous popularity on the international football scene are to act as “ambassadors” and receive sponsorship from Kia Motors. The players are Young-Pyo Lee (PSV Eindhoven, Holland), Ji-Sung Park (recently signed with Manchester United, UK), Ki-Hyun Seol (Wolverhampton, UK), and Doo Ri Cha (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany).
The agreement was formalized today at the “Kia Football Ambassador Partnership Signing Ceremony” held at Kia Motors Headquarters in Seoul, Korea. The event was attended by the new ambassadors and top executives of Kia Motors Corporation as well as members of the media. Ik-Hwan Kim, President and CEO of Kia Motors Corporation, gave a warm welcome to the athletes, who -- as representatives of the Kia brand name -- received keys to new Kia vehicles including the luxurious Opirus (Amanti) sedan and highly acclaimed Sorento SUV.
The new Kia Ambassadors pledged to “enrich the sport of football around the world and reaffirm their dedication to the greatest game on earth.” Over the next 15 months, and leading up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup to be held in Germany, they will be making public appearances at motor shows and other events in Europe in order to enhance Kia’s brand recognition and image.
Speaking on behalf of the Kia football ambassadors, Young-Pyo Lee said, “We are extremely happy to have this opportunity to act as ambassadors for Kia Motors, a pioneer in the automobile industry. Kia cars, like the Sorento, are increasingly gaining recognition across Europe through TV ads and sports event sponsorships. We are proud to personally represent Kia Motors and will work hard to endorse the brand.”
Ik-Hwan Kim, President and CEO of Kia Motors, said, “Football is the national sport not only of Korea but also many countries around the world. These gifted football professionals perfectly personify the ‘exciting and enabling’ brand identity of Kia Motors.” He added, “Like the ever-growing quality and popularity of the Kia line-up, these young men are making tremendous strides in gaining recognition across Europe and the rest of the world for their high-caliber sportsmanship and performance, and we are extremely pleased to have them represent the Kia brand.”
Kia Motors has stepped up its efforts to raise its brand awareness in recent years through active sponsorship of major international sporting events, including the Australian Open and Davis Cup tennis tournaments, in-line skating, and the Asian X games. Kia Motors, alongside Hyundai Motor Corporation, has also entered into an agreement with FIFA to sponsor the World Cup in 2010 and 2014. However, this is the first time Kia has signed on domestic football stars to boost their brand image on a global scale.
*Photo caption (from left to right): Young-Pyo Lee (PSV Eindhoven, Holland), Ki-Hyun Seol (Wolverhampton, UK), and Doo Ri Cha (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany).
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kiamotors.com) -- the fastest growing automaker in the world -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. Kia’s 16 manufacturing and assembly operations in 12 countries produce more than 1.1 million vehicles a year that are sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 155 countries. Kia today has over 32,000 employees and annual revenues of $14 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan -- “The Power to Surprise” -- represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.