Seoul, South Korea – Kia has launched the all-new Forte at the Nanjing International Expo Centre, with the announcement that it will build the vehicle in China for that market.

Kia’s sales in China are up 13.5 per cent for the first five months of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008. The local model will be sold under the name Fu-Rui-Di, which combines the Chinese characters for luck, auspiciousness and advance. The pronunciation is similar to the English name Forte.

The models will be produced at one of two plants jointly owned by Kia Motors and Dongfeng Yueda in the Jiangsu province. Styling changes for the Chinese market include new lights, grille, interior chrome finishes, high-lustre metal grain accents, pushbutton start, and Chinese characters in the instrument cluster and audio screen. It is also Kia’s first Chinese-market vehicle to feature an eco-driving system that colour-codes driving patterns to help drivers maximize their gas mileage.

The Chinese-market Forte offers a choice of 1.6- or 2.0-litre engine. As most cars in the C-segment are equipped with 1.6- or 1.8-litre engines, it makes the Forte the most powerful among its competitors, including the Volkswagen Jetta, Buick Excelle, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Tiida (Versa).

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