When Kia Motors unveiled its EcoDynamics sub-brand at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, the company claimed its new badge would begin to appear on U.S.-bound models soon. In fact, Kia promised that its eco-friendly moniker would be attached to several models sold worldwide. Now, Orth Hedrick, director-product planning at Kia Motors America, tells Ward's Auto that the company has nixed plans to introduce the EcoDynamics name in the U.S. Hedrick cited cost issues as the primary reason for the company's reversal, stating:
The issue is it's yet another brand. And given the fact we're trying to allocate our resources to other areas that make the most sense, does it make sense to introduce another brand out there?
The U.S. automotive market, in its still-depressed state, simply cannot support additional brands. The Detroit Three have pared down by axing Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Mercury, so Kia's move to drop EcoDynamics fits the trend. Jim Hume of Phire Branding Co. says Kia's decision makes sense. Hume told Ward's:
My guess is that they realized the concept of EcoDynamics created not only another brand, but also created the need to educate consumers – an expensive proposition. In this particular case the delineation is tricky. Kia setting apart Earth-friendly vehicles via a sub-brand may have taken away from any Earth-friendly story in Kia-branded vehicles. It is better to highlight everything Kia is doing under one strong brand umbrella.
Though the EcoDynamics badge will not adorn Kia's U.S.-bound models, the fuel-saving innovations and other elements that were to be featured under the new sub-brand are already appearing on some Kia models headed to dealerships across the nation.