Irvine, CA: Kia Motors America has picked PR21 as its new PR agency in the US. The assignment should generate annual fees for the firm in the high six-figure range. The length of the contract is still being negotiated, said Kim Custer, director of PR for Kia.
PR21 beat out Kia's existing agency, Pacific Communications, as well as GCI and Cohn & Wolfe to win the account. The agency will put five people on the account, and the work will be handled from the firm's Los Angeles office.
"PR21 really hit the nail on the head in their presentation to us," Custer said in explaining
the selection. The agency also responded well to a series of "what-if" PR challenges that were posed to all finalists by Kia. PR21 also offered the automaker more PR support
for the money than its competitors, Custer said.
Kia wants to become better known in the US marketplace, where it expects to sell about 275,000 vehicles this year -1.7% of the market. It has announced a 2007 sales goal of 500,000 vehicles.
"We're really growing as a company, faster perhaps than people realize," said Custer.
Two years ago, Kia sold only two models in the US. It now sells seven.
The company also wants to establish a higher public profile for key executives, including
Peter Butterfield, its newly named first American CEO.