by Karen E. Culp
If you're looking to buy a car in Springfield, you have a number of choices: Pontiac, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Ford ... the list of car brands is long. And it just got a little longer. Starting about a week ago, John Youngblood added Kia to the lines of cars his lot sells.
Kias are Korean-made cars. Two models are available in the United States right now: a sedan, the Sephia, and a sport utility vehicle, the Sportage. Youngblood sells both at its South Campbell lot, along with pre-owned cars and Chrysler, Nissan and Plymouth cars. On the used-car portion of the lot, Youngblood even stocks some used Kias.
Youngblood said he began selling Kias because he wanted to offer an affordable, quality car.
"I wanted a lower-priced car that would provide reliable transportation to the people of the region," Youngblood said.
The central area of the country has been the last to come online with the Seoul, Korea-made cars, Youngblood said. The company entered the U.S. marketplace in 1991, but has existed since 1944. Kia began producing bicycle parts, and gradually evolved into producing motorcycles and trucks.
The Kia cars are now sold in more than 100 countries, and the company is manufacturing more than 1 million cars a year.
Kia trained Youngblood's sales staff, and the mechanics have basic training on repair and maintenance of the vehicles, but they will have to go to school in California to get extensive training, Youngblood said.
The 1998 four-door Sephia sells for between $10,000 and $15,000 while the Sportage goes for between $14,900 and $20,000, Youngblood said.
Kia shows that its sales for 1998 are up 61 percent
over the same period for the previous year, Youngblood said.
"These cars are really interesting, and we've had a lot of interest and curiosity about them. It was a good addition to our line of products," Youngblood said.
Youngblood is the first dealership in Springfield to add Kia to its line of cars. A few dealers in Kansas City and St. Louis have picked up the line, but it remains relatively new to Missouri, having only been introduced in the region in March.
John Youngblood is selling Kias, like this model, the Sephia, at his lot on South Campbell.[[In-content Ad]]
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