First Korean car produced in Indonesia
BLAST FROM THE PAST- 26 Kia Sephia
When Indonesia was developing its automobile industry in the early 1990s, it turned to Korea for support.
The Sephia, a compact car from Kia Motors, was the first Korean car produced in Indonesia. It was sold by TPN, an Indonesian automaker, as the Timor. The company later manufactured the car.
Indonesia exempted the import duty and special consumption tax for the vehicle on the condition that the vehicle would be produced in Indonesia with components made in that country.
That caused a huge controversy there because the vehicle was sold for only half the price of its competitors due to the tax exemption.
In particular, there was resistance from Japanese automakers, which commanded 90 percent of the Indonesian market at the time.
Kia introduced the Sephia in Korea in September 1992 to replace the compact sedan, Capital, which was losing market share.
In the year after it was released, Kia sold 101,232 units of the Sephia, which became a fast-selling new car in Korea, selling more than 100,000 units in a single year.
The year 1992 marked a turning point for the automaker. That year, Kia established Kia Motors America to expand its presence in the U.S. market.
The first model it exported was the Sephia, which it exported alongside the Sportage, the automaker’s compact sport-utility vehicle.
In developing the Sephia, Kia had tried to import technology from Mazda.
When that didn’t work, however, the automaker launched a bold project to develop a car on its own.
The Sephia was 4.3 meters (14.1 feet) long, 1.7 meters wide and 1.4 meters high. The first model was equipped with a 1,500 cc engine.
The New Sephia, released two years later in 1994, was equipped with either a 1,500 cc or 1,800 cc engine.
The 1,800 cc engine was called the T8D, which is still considered one of the best engines in that capacity.
In 1999, Kia celebrated the shipment of 2 million vehicles overseas. The Sephia made up 14.4 percent of that total, or 720,388 units, followed by the Pride, a small car; the Sportage and the Carnival minivan.
A total of 628,168 units of the Sephia were produced until the model was discontinued in 2000 and replaced by the Spectra.
By Limb Jae-un [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The Kia Sephia