All posts by Jimoh Olawale

KIA PLANS TO UTILISE OVER 90% LOCALLY SOURCED CONTENT IN ITS MADE-IN-NIGERIA CAR PRODUCTION

Kia plant

Kia’s gritty and unwavering commitment in the production of made-in-Nigeria cars has continuously been at the fore of the management of Kia Motors Nigeria. The ultra-high-tech and state of the art plant in Lagos has produced over 4500 units of cars since its launch in the first half of 2015. The trajectory growth of the locally assembled KIA cars and its top-notch quality built to the exacting standard of the global brand has galvanised the company to explore local content in its assembling chain and influenced its plan to reach a 90% local content utilisation in the production of its cars. The plant produces all 9 models in its plant, worthy of note within its foray of the made in Nigeria Kia car is the 2016 Kia Sorento.

Outside Korea, the birth country of Kia, the automobile company has a long history of building locally to meet the specific needs of local customers with assembly operations using ‘car kits’ sourced locally and other parts of the world. Aligning with this practice and geared towards advancing Nigeria’s economy to compete favourably among comity of Nations, Kia Motors Nigeria plans to have over 90% local content utilisation in Nigeria in its assembling process.

In a statement by the Chief Commercial officer, Kia Motors Nigeria, Mr Sandeep Malhotra, “Nigeria remains an emerging and growing economy in the world with vast potentials for growth, despite its myriad of challenges the country promises a large economy of scale, hence it’s incumbent upon us as a local investor to help her realise its goals. As a company with an unswerving interest on the advancement of the nation’s economy, we have a plan to utilise 90% local content in our assembly process to help strengthen the economy. Buoyed by our increased acceptability among our valued customers in the last decade, we are now looking at further strengthening our foothold and expanding our reach in the localisation of our assembly plant”.

With its built-from-scratch assembly chain firmly in place and over a year of SKD production phase under its belt, Kia Motors Nigeria is now focus on the local content utilisation in its made in Nigeria Kia cars. The plant in Lagos is progressing on schedule for the utilisation of local contents in its assembling process and currently sourced some of its parts including refrigerant, lubricant, and workshop consumables amongst others locally. The plant has a capacity to build up to 27,000 vehicles annually on flexible assembly lines that can manufacture several different models simultaneously to adapt to changes in buying trends.

The 2016 Kia Soul is still the best boxy car money can buy

Kia Soul boxy

The box car craze of the early ‘aughts has finally come to an end. Scion recently killed off its segment-defining xB, and Nissan’s Cube went away because, well, nobody bought one. Still waving the square flag, however, is Kia with its Soul.The Soul has always been a top seller for Kia, and for good reason. Where the other boxes felt cheap (though cheerful), the Soul brings style, a solid build quality and tons of features for a wallet-friendly price. It’s the clear leader in the small box world, and not just because it’s the only one you can still buy new.I recently took a brand-new Kia Soul! (the exclamation point is part of the name – you know, to make it more exciting) from LA to Vegas and back. And even after spending almost 700 miles with the boxy Kia, it’s a car I still find myself stoked on.

Keep It Urban

That said, a freeway cruiser this is not. With its stiff suspension and short wheelbase, the Soul! (shout it out loud as you say it) feels nervous on those high-speed straightaways. It does an admirable job clocking in the miles, but by the time I got to Victorville, I found myself longing for something a little larger—more plush. Something that could soothe the inevitable hangover I’d be fighting during my return trip. Something like a Bentley. Or better yet, an airplane.

But whatever… the Soul! is a city car at heart, and it’s a damn good one. With its diminutive size and nimble handling, it easily dodges Vegas’ throngs of meth-addled taxi drivers. A peppy 164-hp 2.0-liter four-banger and not-so-bad CVT provide enough grunt to help Soul! eagerly get from stoplight to stoplight. This powertrain keeps the Kia moving at a reasonable pace on the freeway, too. And with its 31 highway mpg, I didn’t have to fill it up with gas too often, either.

Soul boxy

The Look

Outside, the current gen-two Kia Soul doesn’t look too different from the one that has come before. This newest version is sleek and modern (for a box), featuring stylized alloy wheels, HID lighting, and just the right amount of black-accented trim to provide some contrast. Get one in white, squint really hard and it almost looks like a First Order Stormtrooper. Almost.

Soul interior

Interior

The inside, though, is where the Kia Soul! really shines. I don’t know what it is about Kia, but the company regularly cranks out interiors superior to that of parent company Hyundai. The plastics look to be of a higher grade, the panels seem to fit together just a hair better, and a whole lot more thought goes into the overall interior design.

Things feel just as funky and modern in the Soul! as they do outside. Those cylindrical “pods” housing the speakers and air vents are unique, as is the sound-sensitive accent lighting. When looking at the overall design—including the sculpted surfaces, gloss-black accents, integrated tech, and even the fonts used—this cabin feels very “now.” Whether that means that this will all look dated in the next five-to-ten years remains to be seen.

There’s plenty of room for everyone to get comfortable in a Soul!, but if you want to take more than a small bag, you’ll need a second vehicle. Fitting even a moderately small suitcase required the folding down of both rear seats. But at least the front occupants get plenty of comfort with high-end features like heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats, Bluetooth connectivity, full nav, and a backup camera.

Yes, there were a lot of optional features on this Kia Soul! tester, so for all I know, a base model could be a total penalty box. But with an as-tested price of approximately $26,000, any adult with a real job can afford a fully spec’d one. Just be smarter than me—use the cash you save to pay your mortgage instead of on a debauchery-fueled trip to Vegas. Speaking of which: Anyone have a couch I can crash on?

[Culled from Business Insider] http://www.businessinsider.com/boxy-but-good-the-2016-kia-soul-2016-1

All-new 2017 Kia Cadenza takes the stage at the New York International Auto Show

Kia Cadenza NY

  • Second-generation Cadenza boasts luxury refinements with expressive styling, advanced technology, and refined powertrain
  • New body structure is stronger, yet lighter and more rigid for a more enjoyable driving experience
  • All-new Cadenza takes its sophistication to greater heights with beautifully crafted interior
  • Kia’s first FWD eight-speed automatic transmission improves driving dynamics and efficiency

The Big Apple today is playing host to the world debut of the all-new 2017 Kia Cadenza at the New York International Auto Show. The stunningly beautiful Cadenza improves upon all the elements that made its predecessor an award-winning success, boasting a precisely crafted cabin, cutting edge technology for connectivity and driver assistance, a stronger body structure, and powertrain enhancements for a more premium experience behind the wheel.

“The new Cadenza adds an extra dose of excitement to the large-car segment with its striking, aggressively handsome looks and premium refinements,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, Kia Motors America. “Everything you see and touch in the Cadenza’s cabin has been improved, but it’s underneath where the Cadenza truly shines with a stiffer and lighter chassis, eight-speed transmission and vastly improved driving dynamics.”

The second-generation Cadenza is set to go on-sale in late 2016, and pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch date.

Elegant and Confident Exterior

Designed at Kia’s California design studio, birthplace of the unforgettable Track’ster and GT4 Stinger concepts as well as the iconic Soul, the Cadenza’s precision-machined exterior exudes confidence, with clean lines offset by expressive details. It all starts with Kia Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer’s oft-quoted philosophy focusing on “the simplicity of the straight line,” which is defined by a single gestural contour that spans the length of the car, creating a sleek profile. This lineation visually links matching Z-shaped lighting signatures in the headlights and LED tail lights, affording the all-new Cadenza a more distinctive road presence, day or night. The overall impression is one of modernity and power, which is achieved by visually shearing away surface area to create a more angular form

Head on, the Cadenza is more expressive thanks to the newly designed front fascia. While the signature Kia “tiger nose” grille is still an unmistakable design trait, it has evolved into a new hexagonal shape that emphasizes the Cadenza’s visual width with lines extending underneath the headlights. But the more substantial change to the grille is its distinct concave form, which curves in toward the engine bay, giving the Cadenza its handsomely chiseled face.

Unlike other cars in the segment, the Cadenza is available with two different grilles. Lower trim models will come with the “Diamond Butterfly” front grille that features the same three-dimensional pattern as several siblings within the Kia lineup, but has its own unique appearance thanks to the concave shape. Higher trim models will come with the “Intaglio” grille, featuring vertically oriented, faceted blades.

LED technology inside the “piano key” taillights helps create visual depth while also complementing the Z-shape lighting signature. Other thoughtful details include the chrome garnish that extends through the trunk lid, accentuating the Cadenza’s wide stance, and tasteful chrome accents on the side mirrors and rear quarter windows.

Exterior styling is further enhanced by optimized dimensions. While the new Cadenza has the same overall length as the outgoing model, it’s slightly wider and lower in height. The wheelbase has been stretched slightly, contributing to nearly a half-inch of increased legroom for rear passengers. Achieving Cadenza’s sportier profile was achieved by extending the roofline rearward more than two inches, while maintaining rear headroom and slightly improving trunk space.

Exquisitely Comfortable Interior Space

The interior is thoughtfully redesigned with even higher quality materials than the preceding model and higher levels of craftsmanship throughout. Like the exterior, the Cadenza’s soft interior contours are offset by sheared surfaces. Kia designers visually widened the Cadenza’s interior space with a wraparound dashboard that flows into the door panels and features real stitching. The door panels themselves have been adorned with higher quality soft-touch materials, while soft leather envelopes the Cadenza’s cabin space. Nappa leather is available with quilted seat bolsters accented by diamond shaped stitching that dresses up the Cadenza’s already attractive cabin.

For 2017, buyers have greater opportunity to customize their Cadenza, as a dark brown interior color has been added, bringing the total number of color combinations to four. Like the outgoing model, the White Package remains an option, but it has been upgraded with a new black wood-grain-style trim finished with a pearlescent sheen.

Improvements were made throughout to ensure a more pleasant driving experience. The driver’s seat has been lowered for a sportier and more stable feeling, while engineers extended the seat cushion slightly and developed an innovative cushion extension mechanism that slides and rotates, making it easier for drivers to find their comfort zone behind the wheel. The heating elements used for the seat warmers have been reengineered to more evenly distribute warmth, and as a Kia first, the seat heaters now utilize a smart control system to automatically lower the heater operating mode after a certain period of time.

The Driving Experience

The 2017 Cadenza is built upon a strong foundation with a body structure composed of more than 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) — more than twice the amount used in the outgoing model. Engineers are targeting an overall five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A driver’s knee airbag helps in this regard and brings the total number of airbags in the vehicle to nine.

The first Kia to be sold in the U.S. under the DRIVE WISE sub-brand, the Cadenza offers cutting-edge driver assistance features[i] such as Advanced Smart Cruise Control with stop-and-go functionality, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning. Another Kia first is the Smart Blind Spot Detection System which senses unintentional drifting toward an adjacent vehicle and automatically brakes the opposite side front wheel to help maintain the vehicle’s intended course.

Side body panels are stronger and feature increased tensile strength steel to improve Cadenza’s dent resistance. Thanks to the increased use of structural adhesive and hot-stamped components, structural stiffness has been increased by more than 35 percent, which also improves driving dynamics. The overall chassis is lighter, thanks to the use of aluminum instead of steel in areas like the front steering knuckles, and engineers retuned the front and rear subframes with larger bushings to improve lateral stiffness and NVH characteristics. Further improving the ride are Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) shock absorbers that maximize ride comfort without sacrificing stability. An extra valve in the damper provides the appropriate damping force according to the road surface, while the new shock absorber now includes a Hydraulic Rebound Stopper (HRS), which works to provide a smoother ride over harsh or broken surfaces. The retuned suspension has improved the Cadenza’s lift coefficient (the up-and-down forces exerted on a moving vehicle), and the end result is better high-speed stability and handling. Steering is more responsive than before with better on-center feel thanks to a new 32-bit Electronic Control Unit (ECU), replacing the 16-bit processor in the outgoing model.

The 2017 Cadenza’s confident ride and handling are complemented by improvements in NVH. Additional acoustic absorbing laminate in the front windows and windshield reduces wind noise, while a full floorpan undercover quells road noise. Together with increased insulation around the A-pillars, NVH levels have been substantially reduced, resulting in a library-quiet interior. The floorpan undercover also helps improve the Cadenza’s aerodynamic performance, along with front wheel air curtains that reduce drag around the tires. Overall, the coefficient of drag has improved from 0.29 to 0.28.

Newly designed 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels may be shod with available Michelin®[ii] tires (P245/45R18 or P245/40R19). Behind the wheels, larger brake rotors improve overall braking performance and feel. The front brakes have been increased from 11 to 12 inches, while the rears have grown marginally from 11 to 11.1 inches, helping to reduce stopping distances.

Harmonious and Modern Cockpit

Brimming with technology, the cockpit is designed to provide a more harmonious human-machine interface with ergonomically intelligent design, intuitive controls, and a suite of enhanced convenience features making the driving experience enjoyable and effortless. New to the 2017 Cadenza is the Head Up Display (HUD)[iii], which shows key driver information such as speed and turn-by-turn navigation directions on the windshield directly in the driver’s line of sight. In addition, the Surround View Monitor1 has been updated with improved software and resolution that gives the driver a clearer birds-eye view of the area around the vehicle, with newly added reverse guidelines offering confidence when backing into confined spaces. Other features new to the Cadenza include Smart Trunk, which conveniently opens the trunk lid if the sensor detects the key fob for more than three seconds, and a wireless smartphone charger. The latest generation of Kia’s UVO system featuring Android Auto[iv] and Apple® CarPlay[v] is standard, while a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon® system featuring Clari-Fi™[vi] music restoration technology is an option.

Efficient and Durable Performance

Underneath the hood is a revised version of Kia’s 3.3-liter V6 engine, which has been retuned for improved fuel economy. With an estimated 290 hp on tap (exact power output and fuel economy figures will be released closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date), the engine sends power to the front wheels via Kia’s first FWD-based eight-speed automatic transmission. The newly developed transmission is highly efficient, providing quick and crisp shifts for a more enjoyable driving experience that will set it apart from its competitors. Despite having two extra cogs, the eight-speed transmission, which was designed in-house, is lighter than the unit in the outgoing model.

Kia engineers also focused on durability and reliability during the development of the all-new Cadenza. Running the V6 at full power and under full-load conditions for 41 consecutive days equates to more than 100,000 miles of real-world use, providing owners with the confidence that the 2017 Cadenza is built for the long haul.

Kia Motors and Total renew partnership

kia total

Kia Motors Corporation and Total Lubrifiants recently renewed their strategic partnership agreement. For another 5 years, Total will remain Kia Motors Corporation’s preferred aftermarket lubricants supplier for Kia vehicles. Total branded automotive lubricants will be exclusively recommended and available to customers across Kia’s service network of more than 5,500 dealers in around 180 countries, including West European markets from January 1, 2017.

The extension of the initial cooperation, first started in 2011, extend benefits to all Kia vehicles owners and Kia dealers. The Kia networks will receive access to high-performance Total Quartz engine oils, specifically developed to optimize the performance and reliability of Kia engines while also offering improved fuel economy benefits. Kia and Total will also develop joint marketing service programs aimed at increasing Kia dealers’ profitability, customer retention and customer satisfaction.

Through this partnership, Kia and Total Lubrifiants confirm their shared aim of strengthening their growing presence in the global marketplace and combining their strengths in an “alliance of skills” to developing high-quality products and services for an unrivalled Kia customer service experience.

“We are delighted to extend our global cooperation with Kia Motors. This renewed partnership confirms Total’s strong commitment to accompany Kia Motors over the long run in its continued global expansion efforts and to deliver innovative lubricants, recognized Total marketing expertise and dedicated aftermarket programs to Kia dealers and customers,” says Pierre Duhot, General Manager Automotive Division at Total Lubrifiants.

Steven Yoon, Vice President Overseas Service Division at Kia Motors Corp., says, “For the past 5 years, Total has demonstrated it has the worldwide coverage, strong marketing capabilities and high-quality lubricant technology to meet the needs of our service network. Total will be a key partner for us in our global aftermarket strategy to enhance Kia customer and dealer satisfaction.”

Photo caption: Steven Yoon, Vice President, Overseas Service Division at Kia Motors Corp. (left) and Pierre Duhot, General Manager, Automotive Division at Total Lubrifiants (right) take part in the official signing ceremony for the 5-year partnership extension.

Kia Motors posts global sales of 268,007 vehicles in March

march sales

  • Kia records year-on-year sales growth in Korea (19.4%) and Europe (9.4%) in March
  • Cumulative sales in 2016 reached 686,887 units, representing a 0.6% year-on-year decrease
  • Kia’s best-selling car in overseas markets in March was the Sportage compact CUV

Kia Motors Corporation announced today its March 2016 global sales figures (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants) for passenger cars, recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles, recording a total of 268,007 units sold. This figure represents 0.6% year-on-year decrease compared to the same month of 2015.

In March, Kia posted year-on-year sales increases in the domestic Korean market (19.4% growth with 50,510 units sold) and Europe (9.4% growth with 63,826 units sold).

Cumulatively through the first three months of 2016, Kia’s global sales totalled 686,887 units for a year-on-year decrease of 0.6%. Korea (128,125 units sold), Europe (145,488 units sold) and North America (160,286 units sold) have seen an 11.9%, 7.9% and 3.0% rise in sales, respectively.

Kia’s bestselling model in overseas markets during March 2016 was the Sportage compact CUV with 43,304 units sold. The B-segment Rio (known as ‘K2’ in China) was the second best seller with 33,524 units sold, while the C-segment Cerato (known as ‘Forte’ or ‘K3’ in some markets), Optima D-segment sedan and Soul urban crossover followed with 30,591, 21,391 and 16,562 units sold, respectively.

New Kia Sportage and Optima win new design awards

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  • All-new Kia Sportage and the Optima receive the prestigious Red Dot international design prize – for the second time each
  • ‘Best of the Best’ award for Optima sedan in its category
  • Every model in the current Kia range has now won a ‘Red Dot’
  • 15 Red Dot awards earned by Kia since 2009

Kia Motors has once again reinforced its reputation for the highest design standards, picking up two prizes at the 2016 ‘Red Dot Awards’ for Product Design, one of the most prestigious international product design competitions.

The new Kia Sportage compact SUV and Optima sedan – the carmaker’s two latest models – both received coveted ‘Red Dots’. The independent judging panel even honoured the Kia Optima with a ‘Best of the Best’ award, the competition’s highest distinction, for which only the most ground-breaking designs in a category are eligible.

The new generations of the Optima and the European Kia bestseller, the Sportage, were launched across Kia’s global markets earlier this year. These new prizes have seen both models defending their Red Dot Awards – both the previous generations of the Kia Sportage and Kia Optima also received Red Dot awards in 2011, while the Optima retains its ‘Best of the Best’ prize. Since 2009, when the first-generation Kia Soul won the carmaker’s first award in the competition, Kia’s design teams have gone on to achieve a total of 15 Red Dot Awards. Now, in 2016, every model in the current Kia product range has a Red Dot.

Peter Schreyer, President and Chief Designer of Kia Motors Corporation and Hyundai Motor Group, commented: “Our international design team has every cause to be exceptionally proud of these most recent awards. The first Red Dot Awards for the Kia Sportage and the Kia Optima were already great successes. It is a very special achievement to further develop a first-rate, prize-winning model so that the new design also convinces the expert jury of this globally respected and prestigious design competition.

“The two award-winners are important models for our brand. The Sportage has been the brand’s bestseller in Europe for many years. The Kia Optima, which is one of the strongest selling Kia models worldwide, also embodies the development of brand in a very special way: the third generation, which arrived on the global stage in 2010, acted as the catalyst for the design-led transformation of Kia’s product range in the following years. Both the new Kia Sportage and the new Kia Optima stand out very strongly from their rivals in their respective categories on account of the clarity, distinction and sporty elegance of their exterior design. Both cars also feature a completely redesigned, premium-standard interior with modern, horizontally aligned and very ‘clean-looking’ design.”

Dynamic design and a bold on-road presence

The new Kia Optima was developed by the international Kia design teams in Namyang (Korea), Irvine (California, USA), and Frankfurt (Germany), under the creative direction of Peter Schreyer, who was also responsible for the design of the previous-generation Kia Optima. The 4.86-meter long new model, whose dimensions have been altered only very slightly, features modern surface details, sharply drawn lines and edges, and a longer silhouette, giving it an even bolder on-road presence than its predecessors. This is partly due to the elongated window line, with the addition of a third side window behind the rear door. The characteristic profile with the swept-back A- and C-pillars has been retained, both of which give the model the appearance of a sports sedan. At the rear, the back lights sweep around to the side, giving the Kia Optima a new, modern light signature.

The new design of the Kia Sportage was developed under the leadership of the European Kia Design Center in Frankfurt with the support of Kia’s Design Centers in Namyang and Irvine. The most striking change to the exterior design is the distinctive new ‘face’ of the compact SUV. The headlights, which used to form a visual unit with Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille are now noticeably separate from the grille, making the front view broader and more stable. The compact SUV has retained its characteristic profile, and the side view – partly due to the 40 mm longer body, at 4.48 meters – is now even more dynamic in its design. The new ‘GT Line’ model presents a sportier appearance, with a number of exclusive design elements, including a redesigned grille, ‘ice cube’-style fog lamps, under-body cladding at the front and rear, and twin exhaust tailpipes.

Both models are available with highly efficient gasoline and diesel engines, and can be ordered with state-of-the-art assistance systems (depending on market) – including Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition. In the European safety test Euro NCAP, both models received the highest rating of five stars.

Red Dot Award: a jury of 41 design experts from all over the world

The ‘Red Dot Design Award’, one of the world’s most prestigious design competitions, is divided into the three disciplines: Product Design, Communication Design and Design Concept. For the 2016 Red Dot Awards, companies from 57 countries registered 5,214 products and innovations. The competition, which has been held since 1955 by the Design Centre of North Rhine-Westphalia, attaches great importance to the impartiality of its high-calibre jury.

To avoid any bias, none of the jury members may be an employee of the manufacturing industry. This year the ‘Red Dot’ jury was larger than ever: The 41 experts from all over the world – freelance designers, design professors and trade journalists – included Chris Bangle, Jimmy Choo, Professor Lutz Fügener, Hideshi Hamaguchi, Kristiina Lassus, Raj Nandan, and Ken Okuyama.

All members of the jury travelled to Essen, Germany and judged the products according to criteria such as degree of innovation, formal quality, functionality and ecological compatibility. The official presentation of the Red Dot Awards will take place on 4 July 2016 in Essen at the Aalto Theater.

Kia Motors produces two millionth vehicle in the U.S.

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Today, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) celebrated as the plant’s two millionth vehicle – a white 2016 Sorento SXL – rolled off the assembly line in West Point, Georgia.

Representing an investment of more than $1.1 billion, KMMG began mass production on November 16, 2009 and today produces more than forty percent of all Kia vehicles sold in the United States.

“Assembling two million vehicles in less than seven years is a remarkable achievement, and one that each of our team members can take a lot of pride in,” said KMMG President and CEO Hyun-Jong Shin. “The world-class quality that goes into every Sorento CUV and Optima midsize sedan we build is a direct result of the hard work and commitment of our team members, and today we salute their commitment to excellence.”

Together with on-site and local suppliers, KMMG is responsible for the creation of more than 15,000 jobs in West Point and the surrounding region, and achieved its highest-ever ranking – top five among vehicle assembly plants in the U.S. – in J.D. Power’s most recent Initial Quality Study.

“Together, Kia and Georgia have a strong reputation of success,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “The company’s continued investment in the state speaks volumes to our pro-business atmosphere, and we will continue to support them as they grow here. I want to congratulate Kia’s team members on this accomplishment.”

About KMMG

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) is the first manufacturing site in North America for Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, Korea. With an annual capacity of 360,000 units, KMMG is located on 2,200 acres in West Point, Georgia, and began mass production on Nov. 16, 2009. KMMG is home to the Sorento CUV and the Optima mid-size sedan, two of the brand’s top selling models in the U.S.