The South Korean brand Kia is one of the top car manufacturing companies in the world. They sell over three million vehicles every year and become a brand that everyone can rely on.

However, the journey of the brand was not so smooth from the beginning. In this article, we will talk about the Kia logo history and how they manage to come into this long in detail. So, let’s jump into the main segment if you are curious to know further.

Kia Brand Overview

Founded: 1944

Founder: Kim Chul Ho

Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea


History of Kia

Kia motors, known as Kia started its journey in 1944. At first, they used to sell bicycle parts and started to produce complete bicycles after a few years. In 1952, they launched their first bicycles and at that time they also changed their name to Kia Industries.

The Kia Industry produce its first truck under the Mazda license in 1960. After almost a decade, in 1974, the company started its journey in manufacturing passenger cars. In the late 1980s, Kia expanded its business to the North American market under the Ford nameplate.

A couple of years later, the company launched its own model in the US market. At the pick of its success, Kia experienced an unexpected situation. In 1997, it went bankrupt. But fortunately, another Korean car manufacturing giant Hyundai saved Kia by accruing a 51% share of the company.              

And from then Kia has become one of the leaders in the car industry.

Kia Name Meaning

When Kia was a small bicycle parts selling company, it was called Kyungsung Precision Industry. After nine years, they changed the name to Kia Motors. However, the new name is not related to the previous one at all.

According to the maker, the name was derived from the Sino-Korean word “Ki”, which means “to come out” and “A”, which means “standing for Asia”. As a whole, the name suggests “to rise out of Asia.”

This simple word is enough to realize the founder’s passion and vision. He wanted to give a positive impact not only on his region but on the whole world. Now we know how successful he is!

Evolution of Kia Logo

You see, Kia has gone through a lot of changes after starting its operation. That’s why we see several logos for this brand. On the other hand, Kia also uses different logos for the domestic and international markets.

In the below section, we will share how the logo of Kia has changed over the year briefly. Let’s have a look.

Kia Logo 1953 – 1964

Kia Motors Logo 1953-1964

As you have seen, Kyungsung Precision Industry was rebranded in 1953 and become Kia Industries. Although the changing phase didn’t affect the company’s production much, it was reflected in the logo quite well. Kia Industries made its first logo with a complex geometric composition.

It included polygons, squares, rectangles, triangles, rectangles, triangles, as well as, diamond shapes. The center contained the word “KIA.”

Kia Logo changed 1964 – 1986

Kia Motors Logo 1964-1986

This year the Kia logo became way simpler than the previous one. The inscription was no more in the symbol. It was just a green bold circle that looked like an inverted Q because of the angled ledge on the top. It also represented the stylized “K” badge that every vehicle sold in South Korea contained.

Kia Logo changed 1986 – 1994

Kia Motors Logo 1986-1994

From 1981 – 1986, Kia Motors went on a forced hiatus as Chun Doo Hwan banned passenger car production at that time. After the brand returned to the automotive industry, it modified its logo again.

Kia restarted its production with Kia Pride under Ford and Mazda. However, they created the logo that represented their steel pipe factory. The shape seemed like a factory while the letter “K” looked like a chimney. At the top, there was a wavy blue line that represented puffs of smoke.

Kia Logo changed  1994 – 2012

Kia Motors Logo 1994-2012

The Early 90s saw the most significant change in the Kia logo. You see, the company’s logo has changed drastically after every modification. But the logo they came up with in 1994 became the base of the most recent Kia badge.

Anyways, the Kia badge from 1994 contains a simple oval shape in red where the KIA word is written in the middle.

Unlike the previous design, this version was more modernized and at the same time clearer. Kia logo red showed the passion and energy of the company, while the white surrounding conveyed the message of loyalty.

Kia Logo changed 2012 – 2021

Kia Motors Logo 2012-2021

After struggling with the financial crisis, Kia made a slight change in its logo in 2012. This Kia logo replacement is quite insignificant. You can hardly find any difference while comparing the Kia logo old vs new. So, what things have changed this time?

Well, only the color. The color of the emblem has become noticeably brighter than the previous symbol. The company might have done this modification to show the world that the dark days ended now they are fully capable to meet their client’s needs.

On the other hand, the background also changed a bit for Sorenty 4 x 4 and Picanto vehicles. Instead of a white background, they possessed a dark gray one.

Kia Logo changed  2021 – Today

Kia Logo 2021-present

The recent change of the Kia logo happened in 2021. Kia arranged a grand celebration for changing its logo. In the January of 2021, the city of Incheon experienced a pyrotechnic show, which also released fireworks after a while.

A huge number of drones participated on that occasion and it became a new world record. These drones formed into the word “KIA” and then showed their new motto “Movement that inspires.”

Overall, the presentation was quite outstanding. Let us tell now what the new logo looks like. Well, the company has adopted a black logo this time. Here the words “k”, “I”, and ”A” are connected and create a stylish form that conveys the message of modernism and ambition of the brand.

The Kia Emblem

Kia Emblem

In recent years, Kia has started to switch to manufacturing electric vehicles. Hence, the brand creates its emblem in such a way that represents the latest technology and the idea of movement.

Why Does Kia Have Different Logos

Kia uses two different logos in the international and domestic markets. The domestic version contains an inverted tick that looks like the letter “K”. Meanwhile, the 2022 Kia logo that uses internationally is the black one that has been launched in 2021.

Final Thoughts

That’s all about Kia logo history and a brief overview of the brand. You see, the brand has experienced so many ups and downs in its years of journey. After all the struggle, they manage to come this far which is indeed praiseworthy.