With bowl season upon us, and Notre Dame and Alabama set to battle it out for the NCAA Division I championship, we’re still a few weeks away from sorting out most of the winners and losers in this year’s college football season—but there is at least one team that has clinched a share of gridiron greatness for the year: Kia, which recently announced it had become a founding sponsor of the new College Football Hall of Fame.
The 94,000-square-foot Hall is expected to open in Atlanta near the beginning of the 2014 college football season, and will be located next door to the Georgia World Congress Center—one of the largest convention centers in the country—and the city’s famed Centennial Olympic Park, built for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Of course, this is far from Kia’s first foray into the sport of college football. The brand also is currently a sponsor of the 2013 Outback Bowl, slated for a New Year’s Day broadcast on ESPN, and Official Automotive Partner of the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference (SEC)—home base for the previous six BCS champions as well as one of this year’s challengers, the University of Alabama.
However, there may be another reason that Kia has gotten involved with the College Football Hall of Fame, as explained by Michael Spraque, executive vice president of Marketing and Communications for the brand: “Kia is proud to call the state of Georgia home to our U.S. manufacturing plant. We are excited about the addition of a new attraction to the Atlanta-area and the opportunity to showcase the fantastic Sorento and Optima vehicles built nearby in West Point, Ga.”
The vehicles are showcased on the next page, too, for Autobytel readers who want the lowdown on two of Kia’s up-and-coming all-stars.
2013 Kia Optima and 2014 Kia Sorento: Under Review
Providing a two-pronged approach to winning in the marketplace, the Kia Optima and Kia Sorento are the brand’s top sellers on the car and crossover sides of the business, respectively, with the company’s striking mid-size sedan delivering 140,391 units through the end of November (+90 percent) and its versatile mid-size crossover attracting 108,630 customers during that time. And while that’s actually down slightly as compared to the first 11 months of 2011, the all-new 2014 Kia Sorento is poised to launch early next year and resumed its winning ways.
Sitting on an all-new platform, the 2014 Sorento also will offer the next generation of Kia’s voice-activated UVO telematics system, a new 290-hp V6 engine with direct injection, an enhanced Torque On Demand all-wheel-drive setup with Torque Vectoring Corner Control, driver-selectable multi-mode steering, LED exterior lighting, a reconfigured and more ergonomic center-stack, and a range-topping SX Limited that’s chock-filled with premium features.
The Optima, on the other hand, introduced its SX Limited trim for the 2013 model year, and the upgrade has truly helped up-end the standings in the mid-size sedan segment. In November, for example, the Optima outsold rivals like the Chevy Malibu, VW Passsat, Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200, and moved within 2,400 units of the Ford Fusion. But customers looking for high value also should note that the starting price of the 2013 Kia Optima is an affordable $21,100 that is lower than not only the Malibu and Fusion, but also the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima.
(Note: Details of the 2014 Kia Optima have yet to be released.)
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