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July 24: Bankrupt Kia goes up for sale on this date in 1998

Justin Hyde

Once the third-largest independent automaker in South Korea, Kia Motors grew from a small manufacturer thanks to cars like the Kia Briva above and contract work for Ford; Kia's logo has the same dimensions as the Ford blue oval so that cars on Kia's assembly line could easily get one or the other. But the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s sent Kia into bankruptcy, and on this date 14 years ago, the South Korean government opened bidding for the company. Hyundai eventually beat Daewoo and Ford, taking control in a setup that's unique in the world; in the United States, Hyundai and Kia consider each other competitors to such a degree many execs are barred from speaking to their counterparts at the other side — even though the vehicles share most basic components. Kia has taken that freedom and ran with it in its marketing and styling, including a Super Bowl ad that led to a five-hour loop of model Adriana Lima waving a flag.

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