KIA Motors

Since the very first beginning of Sport Navigator.NL, in 2004, Kia Motors has been our proud Sponsor Partner in international speed skating, already for 10 years now! Current CEO of Kia Motors Netherlands, Lean Verstoep, explains what value this sponsorship brings to the Kia brand. Kia Motors has been a Partner of Sport Navigator.NL for a long time now.

How did the sponsorship start back then?
"At that moment, Kia was developing pretty fast in The Netherlands. And although the brand was getting more and more known to the customer, Kia still needed more brand exposure. The speed skating sport is very popular in The Netherlands and the big number of athletes wearing the Kia logo that Sport Navigator.NL had to offer, resulted in a lot of visibility for our brand. The image of Kia was very Asian back then. By embracing the speed skating sport, Kia managed to win over the hearts of the customers. It gave us a double boost: the brand became more likable and more "Dutch" and at the same time our brand awareness increased.

That is how we started our contact with Marnix Wieberdink and at that time it became clear that we shared the same ambitions. As we did not want to ignore our Korean roots, we first started to sponsor the complete Korean speed skating team, after which the number of skaters and countries increased very fast. Besides that, the first training camp was organized as well, especially for the "Kia-skaters", to give them professional support.

The entire sponsor concept we started back then, was very controversial and it was the "talk of the town" in the speed skating world at the time. We could not be happier: it resulted in extra exposure for us, something we had not expected."

As the sponsorship started with Kia Motors Netherlands, why did you choose to sponsor non-Dutch speed skaters?
"The goal of this sponsorship is mainly to make speed skating a more global sport, since it is already very big in The Netherlands. To increase the entire level of the sport, it was very important that the non-Dutch skaters became more competitive. The Dutch top skaters are being sponsored very well already, they have the best possible facilities. The Dutch speed skating sport could work with millions of sponsorship dollars. That did not fit our ambition, nor our budget. An extra benefit was that the non-Dutch skaters mostly were not sponsored yet in that time. Suddenly a very large part of the competitors were racing with the Kia logos on their suits. We were extremely visible and it soon gave us the association we wished for.

The sponsorship of these athletes and the sponsorship of the Kia Speed Skating Academy brings us very good exposure in various media channels. This helps us to bring our brand more "top of mind" within the speed skating audience. Besides that, the speed skating sport is a very sympathetic and positive sport with a large group of enthusiastic fans. This fits to the brand image we wish to show.

Another important aspect of this sponsorship, is the fact that all those skaters that we support, have very high ambitions and they are challengers of the Dutch speed skaters, who are considered to be the best skaters in the world. That fits us very well, as we see ourselves as a challenger brand as well."

Obviously, the sponsorship of Kia Motors brings the speed skating sport great benefits. How do you see this developing in the coming years?
"We have made a clear choice to not only support the current top athletes within this sport, but to have a long term vision. That also resulted in the sponsorship of the Kia Speed Skating Academy, where we invest in talented, young speed skaters who donít have the budget and facilities that a professional athlete needs. We invest in them, so their talents can develop faster and better and they can become competitive athletes. That is our investment in the future of the speed skating sport."

About Kia Motors:
The Power to Surprise- represents Kia's global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation while epitomizing the exciting and enabling values of the Kia Motors brand. Everything we do at Kia Motors, from providing one of the best warranties in the business, having more standard features, or enabling someone to have a car in the first place, is done with this in mind. Through a full line of cars, from the all-new Rio - the most affordable four door sedan in America, the Amanti full-size sedan, to the reintroduced Sportage sport utility vehicle, Kia Motors demonstrates its ability to achieve The Power to Surprise.
Safety first, from concept to crash test. Kia Motors is determined that every one of its vehicles should be as safe as possible, and this goal is ensured by a rigorous system of collision tests and simulations. Right up until the finished vehicle reaches the customer, Kia Motors maintains a thorough customer-oriented quality control system, precisely assessing the customers' needs and demands to enhance the production process.
In the past few years we've managed some pretty incredible growth, both in the number of dealers who sell our vehicles and in the number of owners who are driving them. As a matter of fact, today there are more than one-million Kia Motors vehicles on American roads. Every year more and more people are discovering the value of owning a Kia.