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March 3, 2011updated 08 Apr 2021 8:13am

GENEVA: Top Gear puts Kia in the fast lane

Just what is the value of having one of your cars thrashed round a circuit every week by a bunch of celebrities?

Just what is the value of having one of your cars thrashed round a circuit every week by a bunch of celebrities?

Invaluable, according to Kia which provides a Cee’d model for the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car slot on BBC’s Top Gear.

Benny Oeyen, marketing vice president for Kia Motors Europe, said: “Top Gear has really worked for us. Perhaps we were a little nervous at first but Top Gear has got our car in front of millions of people.

“It also shows exactly what the car is – dynamic, reliable and reasonably priced. It’s also a programme that goes right around the world. Top Gear is popular in so many countries.”

For a brand like Kia, still not an established player like the big guns at Volkswagen or Toyota, getting your cars noticed is all important. It is why sports sponsorship is also important to the South Korean company.

It is a major football sponsor – along with sister company Hyundai, Kia has signed a world cup deal with FIFA taking it through 2022 -as well as being a headline supporter of the Australian Tennis Open.

“Sports sponsorship is at the heart of our strategy,” said Oeyen. “Sport is something for the masses and because we are not as well known as other brands we really have to push to get the attention of a lot of people.”

And there’s the added bonus of Top Gear which is repeated on satellite channels for many years.

As UK PR manager Stephen Kitson put it: “Who wouldn’t want Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise driving your cars on television?”

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