Founded in Korea in 1944, Kia Motors got its start as a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycle parts. In 1961 the company began building motorcycles, and by 1971 four-wheel trucks were in production. Kia Motors America was established in 1992, with the Sephia officially launching in the U.S. in 1994. As Kia expanded into midsize cars, minivans and small and midsize SUVs, sales increased every year thereafter until the global economic crisis of 2008. Today’s Kia vehicles have a reputation for value without the cheap economy-car stigma that saddled the brand during its first years in the U.S. A significant portion of Kia is owned by Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.