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Kia Shows Optimism at LA Auto Show

The executives at Kia are feeling bullish about the future: "Over the past three years Kia's design-led transformation has delivered more new products than any other brand," announced Michael Sprague, the company's Vice President of Marketing and Communications, as he unveiled the automaker's GT concept vehicle at the LA Auto Show.

Sprague cited more reasons for Kia's optimism about 2012: Optima sales are up 180%, with the Optima Hybrid earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the lowest fuel consumption while driving the contiguous 48 states. According to Kelley Blue Book, Kia delivers the lowers cost of ownership of the entire industry, and Experian reports that Kia has the highest brand loyalty of any auto company. And the company has new visibility as official sponsor of the LPGA Kia Classic Golf Tournament.

Kia's sales surge began with the introduction of the boxy Soul (and a series of television ads depicting a crew of funky hamster drivers). The 2012 model of the "urban passenger vehicle" offers more horsepower plus better fuel economy at a low cost: base model MSRP is just $13,900.

Those looking for an entry-level vehicle will be delighted with the 2012 subcompact Rio sedan and 5-door hatchback, which obtains significant fuel efficiency of up to 40 miles per gallon, without sacrificing horsepower -- thanks in part to the inclusion of technological advances like gasoline-direct injection (GDI) and idle stop and go (ISG).

Kia's most popular vehicle is its compact crossover Sorento, a 2011 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Sorento may look small, but it will comfortably seat up to seven passengers and features some family friendly amenities like YES-Essentials seat fabric that provides anti-bacterial, anti-soil and anti-static properties for added longevity and livability. Best of all, the 2012 Sorento gets 32 miles per gallon on the highway.

Kia's eye-catching Optima and Optima Hybrid sedans (with a starting price of under $20,000) are featured in a new series of commercials with basketball star Blake Griffin, who demonstrates a dry sense of humor as he talks up the vehicle's 5-star safety rating and new UVO voice-activated infotainment system.

Donna Schwartz Mills loves her cars. Of course! She's SoCal Mom!

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