Kia consults icas to build female lifestyle appeal

Kia has ushered in fresh agency support as it tries to become a top ten car manufacturer by 2010.

Icas PR has become the South Korean firm's UK consumer and corporate agency. Kia wants to shed its niche positioning as a rival to Daewoo and Suzuki, and take on larger players such as Ford and Vauxhall.

'Our remit is to communicate the Kia proposition and create consumer interest in the brand,' said icas board director Emma Wright.

The agency is expected to target lifestyle and women's magazines rather than the mainstay motoring journals in an effort to attract female drivers. Much of the PR will be focused around Kia's 'smart value' marketing, which positions the brand as a cheaper option than rivals.

The appointment of icas to the £100,000 brief ends Kia's five-year relationship with Four Communications, which worked on CSR and sponsorship of the Davis Cup. Two other agencies also pitched for the account.

Kia recorded UK sales of around 30,000 units from January to September 2005, a 25 per cent increase on 2004.

The firm is expected to roll out at least four new models in 2006, including versions of the Sorento SUV, Carnival mini-van and Opirus sedan.

Wright leads the account, with account directors Duncan Gallagher and Helen Lawson overseeing corporate and consumer work

Kia and affiliate Hyundai suffered production losses of around £330m last September after a seven-day strike in South Korea. The strikes have become an annual feature amid continuing labour unrest, wiping billions from country's economy.

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