Kia has proven that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
The South Korean brand changed its logo at the beginning of 2021 as it entered its new electric age.
Kia’s global CEO Ho Sung Song said at the time: “The auto industry is undergoing a period of rapid transformation, and Kia is proactively shaping and adapting to these changes. Our new slogan represents our desire to inspire customers as their mobility needs evolve, and for them to rise above Our employees rise to the challenges we face in a rapidly changing industry.”
The new logo was slowly rolled out across its model range over the following months.
Embarrassingly, Twitter user @Shwinnabego revealed that the recent logo change was “unreadable”.
It turns out that people weren’t reading Kia but instead seeing “KN,” or K and N.
This is supported by Google search data in November which showed that at least 30,000 people had searched for “KN car” every month since the logo first appeared.
Research by marketing firm Distinctive Bat has shown that Google searches for “KN car” have steadily increased as the new logo appears on more cars.
Results of a company survey showed that only 50 percent of people could recognize the new logo compared to 86 percent for the old one.
And not one in four people can correctly attribute the new logo to Kia.
Despite the confusion, Kia has the last laugh.
The South Korean brand is on a tear in Australia, shadowing some heavyweight brands with strong growth despite a lack of inventory.
Kia sold more than 78,000 vehicles in 2022, an increase of 15 percent compared to 2021.
Kia is now the third most popular car brand in Australia, overtaking longtime favorites Mitsubishi, Ford and sister brand Hyundai in 2022.
Only Toyota and Mazda sell more cars in Australia.
Its first electric vehicle, the EV6, has been met with rave reviews and long waiting lists as buyers of the zero-emission vehicle, and a performance variant, the EV6 GT, will be launched soon.
Almost every model in its lineup experienced positive growth over the year at a time when supply chains were strained and demand outpaced supply across the industry.
Originally published as Car company marketing failure revealed