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Kia was founded in 1944 in Seoul, South Korea as a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycle parts. The name of the company is derived from the Chinese meaning "to arise, or coming up out of Asia." It gradually expanded its manufacturing to building motor scooters, after successfully producing the first bicycle in Korea in the 1950's. A decade later, the company had included 3-wheel cargo vehicles and motorcycles in its production line. By the 1970's, the next step was automobile production, establishing Sohari, the first fully integrated assembly plant in Korea. Other automobile manufacturers adopted its highly advanced technology, and the company rapidly added new and better models to its inventory. Kia was introduced in the U.S. under its own name in the early 1990's, primarily in dealerships in Western states. However, as demand for their economical vehicles grew and SUVs were included in its lineup, more and more customers discovered the versatility of the company. Today, it has dealerships in every major country around the world.

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