Design & Technology

Want to know more about Kia? There’s an award winning app for that July 15th, 2013

Apple’s famous “there’s an app for that” tagline has not only become a catchy clichéd phrase, but an expectation amongst consumers in today’s connected era.  Last Wednesday marked the five year anniversary of the Apple App Store, and it’s amazing to see how much the role of apps has changed, especially for brands.

When brands first began inhabiting the mobile app space roughly four years ago, simply having a branded app was considered an innovative concept. It didn’t have to do anything special or be particularly good, but merely be an app. Now that’s changed, especially with over 30 billion apps downloaded last year alone.  In other words, if brands want to communicate on mobile devices, just having something in the App Store with a logo on it is no longer going to cut it.

Mobile users have an average of 41 apps on their devices, but only use a select few on a daily basis. Brands have learned that getting as many downloads as possible by fans and enthusiasts for an app can be a fairly fruitless endeavor, especially if users will never actually use them. But getting an app acknowledged by world renowned design organizations can be a more prized validation, which not only gives users a reason to believe in a brand’s design prowess, but creates an invitation to not just take the expert’s word for it, and check it out for themselves.

Below are five of Kia’s seven iPad apps that have been recognized by red dot and iF, two of the largest and most-acclaimed international design competitions. Among them, the all-new Sportage and all-new Carens iPad apps received awards in the communication design category from the red dot design awards, which was officially announced today.

All of these apps are distinct in their own special way, and manage to offer value in today’s cluttered branded apps space. They can be useful, entertaining and certainly take users beyond the proverbial ‘tire kick.’ But most importantly, each one of them stands a good chance of helping car buyer’s by being on their shortlist of useful apps.

Kia Sportage iPad app

Navigate and discover the urban SUV with a new kind of beauty, refinement and power. The Sportage boasts a bold and dynamic design, stylish interior, innovative convenience features and powerful powertrains with eco-friendly technology.


–      Exterior / Interior 360°view of the Sportage

–      Customization tool allowing you to see Sportage in available colors and wheels

–      Interactive virtual reality movies to experience Sportage’s innovative features

–      Photo & video gallery showing details of the Sportage

Kia Carens iPad App

This app unfolds through four unique CGI videos that lead into a single story line, and expresses the Kia Carens MPV’s concept of “Stylish Family Car for Modern Life.”

–          Interactive 720 degree exterior / interior view of the Kia Carens

–          Customization tool allowing you to see Kia Carens in available colors and wheel

–          Interactive virtual reality movies to experience Kia Carens’ innovative features

–          Photo & video gallery showing details of Kia Carens

Kia Optima iPad App

Explore this app to see Kia’s stunningly stylish midsize sedan that offers high levels of technology, impressive power and fuel efficiency. The Kia Optima boasts a sporty and dynamic design, smartly styled and impressive interior, innovative convenience features and eco-friendly powertrains.

–      Interactive 360 degree exterior / interior view of the Optima

–      Customization tool allowing you to see Optima in available colors and wheels

–      Interactive virtual reality movies to experience Optima’s innovative features

–      Photo & video gallery showing details of the Optima

Kia Rio iPad App

Discover this brilliant compact car’s broad range of features and options at the touch of your fingertips.

–      Exterior / Interior 360°view of the all-newRio

–      Customization tool allowing you to see all-newRioin available colors and wheels

–      Interactive virtual reality movies to experience all-newRio’s innovative features

–      Photo & video gallery showing details of the all-newRio

Kia Picanto iPad App

This was Kia’s debut app and set the design and innovation bar for all of the above. The Picanto app shows the compact’s distinctive exterior, sophisticated interior, numerous ‘large car’ advanced comfort and safety features including premium lamps, button-start with smart key, grip-type outside door handles and six or seven airbags.

–    Interactive 360°-view of the all-new Picanto

–    A customization tool allowing you to see all-new Picanto in available colors and wheels

–    A photo & video gallery showing details of the all-new Picanto

–    Interactive contents that let you discover all-new Picanto’s exceptional safety, performance, convenience and design

Kia recognizes that the proliferation of mobile devices is not a passing phenomenon, but an opportunity to digitally take the car buying experience into a more informative and entertaining realm.

Aside from winning awards, another key factor for measuring success of a branded app, especially for Kia, is having customer facing team members across the globe use the apps to enhance their daily face-to-face communications, particularly when explaining a vehicle’s features.

Seeing is believing

Through apps, both Kia sales team members and customers alike can go beyond the typical car brochure, and take the experience further by virtually expanding upon the pre, actual and post test drive experience via an iPad. The ‘all-new Carens’ and ‘all-new Sportage’ apps for instance are fully interactive e-publications that allow users to view models in 720°rotations, flip through available colors and wheel options, explore interiors through gyroscope assisted virtual reality, and browse through a plethora of multimedia content and information in a matter of seconds.

Visual Language

Several Kia dealerships have already been using these apps to enhance communication with customers through a more visual and tangible language in their showrooms. This approach to presenting a vehicle creates an interactive and engaging car buying experience that visitors have come to appreciate.  A showroom visitor might wonder how different exterior colors and wheel options may look on a floor display model, or how the car looks from a high viewing angle. In addition, Kia vehicles are constantly adding new technology features, and concepts like how lane departure warning systems work may be difficult to grasp with a static verbal explanation. That’s where  animations, 3D models and simulations via Kia’s iPad apps can help customers better understand and visualize these features and options.

It’s no secret that this new format has triggered a profound change in business, and Kia Motors has been no exception in adapting to this change.