Kia Australia believes that its localization program for its vehicles is a huge deal for its on-going success in our market.

Kia has spent the last several years emphasising that all its new Australian-delivered models are tuned for our roads and conditions, bringing a local flavour to the Korean company’s operations.

Speaking to CarAdvice in Los Angeles, Kia Australia’s national press manager, Kevin Hepworth, said that Kia Australia got permission from Korea to spend its R&D budget on locally tuning the suspension and steering of its vehicles.

The company has made significant ground in improving not only the driving dynamics of its vehicles, but also the market perception of its ride and handling quality. More importantly, it’s not necessarily just to improve the vehicle’s dynamics, but also to showcase that Kia goes the extra mile and makes the effort for Australian customers.

“What they [Kia customers] do know and what they feel, is that Kia cares about what the Australian driver gets and that’s important. We understand that you have a particular requirement or desire in your car and we are trying to give you that” Hepworth said.

Kia Australia firstly specifies a starting point to Kia Korea for the initial build, then brings the cars to Australia for a significant local tuning operation, which can take up to three months. From there, it sends the new locally adjusted suspension and steering settings back to the factory for the final build.

The local tuning arm does approximately 20-30 different combinations of torsion beam, rollbars, suspension springs and shock settings as well as steering feel before finding the best mix.

On the whole scheme of things, localisation operations has nudged Kia ahead of its bigger sister company, Hyundai (which conducts its own localisation program), in terms of market perception for ride and handling.

Do you care that Kia Australia goes to this extent to tune its cars for our market?

  • Sumpguard

    They must be doing something right. The new Sorento knocked off the Territory, Tiguan, Santefe (by a whisker) Audi Q3, Mercedes ML250 and VeeDud Toerag in the SUV over $40 grand category on a rival website .

        Infact they went on to say that the Germans are now playing catch up.

    • Tangelo

      Which parallel universe are you from Sumpguard ?
      This Kia isn’t bad car at all, I think. 
      But nothing significant after all or nothing technologically advanced.
      As you can see sales number are never be in top 3 in Australian market, this car isn’t big seller in any continent of market after all.
      So, what’s the hell are you talking about?


      • Sumpguard

        Go read the review at Drive website meat head! I was relaying what they said you idiot!

  • greatlegs

    I like the Sorento, but unfortunately it has stepped back in
    time, although the auto has retained the 2000 kg towing capacity it has reduced
    the max ball load to 120 kg, the outgoing model at least had 2000/150 kg. As some
    Local drivers like to tow various trailers this is very limiting and so does
    not necessarily reflect Localisation, if Kia are not interested in this market
    the Local engineering could be better used in other arrears

  • antman70

    Probably too expensive, but I’ve often thought it would be interesting for someone to do a back to back test of vehicles like this comparing the different tunings for different regions to judge how much the changes actually make.

  • Darryl

    Are they localising them for Australia only? Photos look to show NZ plates and scenery.

  • Norm

    Kia are doing plenty of things right but that new add with “groovy” young people drumming on the car and generally acting like embarrassments isn’t one of them?! 


    How DO ad execs still get those ideas up?The Grand Master Flash add was WAY better. Funny and clever.