1 November 2011
 

Kia

Kia unveils sports-themed rides at SEMA Show

Autozine
1 November 2011 | Kia Motors America arrives in Las Vegas for the 2011 SEMA Show with a roster of six outrageous sports-themed vehicles. This year's show cars were inspired by Kia's growing sports marketing portfolio that includes basketball, women's golf, motor sports and more. Two were built by the world famous West Coast Customs with additional vehicles conceived and built in-partnership with the popular lifestyle magazine, Antenna, as well as GoGoGear.com and Kia's U.S. racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports.
 

The Kia Optima became a U.S. pop culture icon when Blake Griffin leaped over the popular D-segment saloon to win the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Competition. Today, Griffin is an official spokesperson for the Kia brand with several new TV spots set to air in the U.S. over the next few months. Taking the Kia-Blake Griffin partnership to the next level, West Coast Customs (WCC) has created a basketball-themed Optima Hybrid that adds some hardwood flair to Kia's first-ever hybrid in the U.S.

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The inspiration behind the WCC Optima Hybrid is immediately apparent with its basketball-like custom orange paint scheme, which is accentuated by 20-inch matt black wheels and Griffin's personal logo on the bonnet.

Inside, hoop fans will find basketball-court flooring in the front and rear seating areas, custom leather seats with Griffin's autograph embroidered in the front headrests, leather and suede door panel inserts and headliner, and a booming audio system with custom enclosures built into the rear deck lid.

Two flat-screen TVs mounted in the back of the front headrests connect to an X-Box video game console and a "Pop-A-Shot" basketball hoop is mounted in the trunk for hours of off-the-court entertainment.

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Built by West Coast Customs, the golf-themed "Hole in One" Soul was inspired by Michelle Wie, Kia's official golf ambassador and one of the most recognisable young athletes around the world. Wie drives a Soul in northern California while attending classes at Stanford University, and this funky Soul's "So Blue" exterior paint scheme and five-spoke 20-inch wheels incorporate her original artwork, which can also be found on the custom-embroidered Nike® golf bags she uses for tournament play.

Adding even more personal style and flair, Wie's artwork and personal logo also are integrated into the Soul's "Snow White" leather headrests, while a baby blue painted dash and pink headliner and seating accents complete the whimsical interior look.

For the third consecutive year, Kia has partnered with Antenna to create specialty lifestyle vehicles such as the Retro Surf Rio 5-door, which is outfitted with everything the modern-day surfer needs for a perfect day and night at the beach, including an authentic Grain wood surfboard mounted on the roof.

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The Rio has been lowered with a modified suspension set-up for sportier handling, and the aggressive exterior stance is accentuated by eye-grabbing 17-inch three-piece gold wheels, a sunset-metallic golden-brown paint scheme, a custom body kit with a front splitter made of wood to match the surfboard on the roof and a redesigned rear fascia with centre-exit dual exhaust.

The front and rear seats and door panels of the Rio are upholstered in brown and beige plaid board shorts fabric, and the wood grain center console brings the classic surfboard theme inside. For even more fun in the sun, the rear center console has been modified as a shelf to hold sunblock and other beach and ocean accessories, and the dark brown suede headliner has a built-in towel rack.

When night falls, surfers and their friends will gather around the Rio's massive rear hatch area, which has been stocked with a juicing station, a retro iCade gaming console that plays 80s-style arcade games on an iPad, a turntable to play vinyl records, and shelves for sandals and clothing.

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Hockey players carry a lot of bulky gear to and from the rink, and the Antenna Hat Trick Forte 5-door can handle it all with a custom hockey stick holder that stretches from the trunk through the center of the vehicle into the cabin.

The power play continues inside as the rear bench seat has been converted to two bucket seats with custom upholstery and there are custom-molded sports bottle drink holders in the center console. Rubberised flooring in the front and rear seating areas simulates the surface found outside the rink, and the action continues off the ice with a mini air hockey table mounted in the rear hatch area and TVs mounted in the front seat headrests wired to a Microsoft ® X-Box video game console featuring EA Sports NHL12 video game.

The Forte is finished with custom ice-metallic grey exterior paint, 19-inch blue alloy wheels, a custom body kit and Forte Koup front bumper with carbon fibre accents and LED "hockey stick" fog lights, a quad-tipped exhaust, carbon fibre roof material and a lowered suspension. The headlining features a built-in hockey coach's play board and the locker room-like rear cargo area features built-in compartments that house four carbon fibre hockey sticks and two jerseys color matched to the exterior of the car, an ice skate rack and glove hooks to dry out sweaty game-used equipment, and custom accent lighting.

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Fresh off Kia's first ever GRAND-AM Team and Driver road racing championships in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge's Street Tuner class, the first expansion to Kia's U.S. motor sports program will be entry into showroom stock ("B-Spec") racing with the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door subcompact.

The Rio B-Spec racecar will compete against models like the Mazda 2, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta and others in a range of events organized by various motor sports sanctioning bodies, including World Challenge, GRAND-AM, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA).

The USTCC Optima Hybrid also features an eye-catching exterior with custom vinyl graphics, color scheme and array of lighting, including LED auxiliary lights and HID headlights, strobe lights and LED light bar on the roof to help direct traffic while on duty.

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Moving inside, a state-of-the-art audio and video system with navigation system was installed and the booming audio system uses Infinity speakers and amplifiers to crank out more than 2,400 watts of sound. The rear passengers can enjoy a DVD video system with dual seven-inch monitors mounted in the front-seat headrests with wireless headphones. Passengers will also notice the Optima Hybrid's custom leather seat upholstery with green accent stitching to match the exterior trim color when Kia's USTCC Safety Car goes into action in March at the first race of the season.