Give Kia credit; it's not afraid to take on a monumental task. The ambitious Korean automaker didn't start selling cars in the United States until 1994, and a mere fifteen years later it offers a full range of vehicles, from the entry-level Rio sedan to the seven-passenger Borrego SUV to the spunky, funky Soul "urban passenger vehicle." As with almost every other carmaker, its sales are down this year (although Kia's 6.8 percent drop looks positively paltry compared with the double-digit dips suffered by most of its competitors). The faltering economy hasn't stopped Kia from forging ahead with its product plans, however. In fact, the automaker boasts that not only have there been no cutbacks, but in May, it spent more money marketing its products than during any other month in company history.
Which brings us to the all-new Forte. With the Forte, Kia has set its sights on the notoriously competitive (and profit-challenged) compact sedan segment, and it is aiming squarely at the powerhouses that currently dominate the market: the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. That's no small task, and one at which Kia's erstwhile small sedan, the Spectra, utterly failed.... Read full article