Kia is pulling out all the stops for the 2011 SEMA show as their North American arm, Kia Motors America, is going to be showcasing six new sports-themed rides at Las Vegas.
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.
"Slam Dunk" Blake Griffin Optima Hybrid & "Hole-In-One" Michelle Wie Soul
Two Kia models were built by West Coast Customs: a basketball-inspired Optima Hybrid and a golf-inspired Kia Soul.
The Kia Optima (main photo) became a pop culture icon when Blake Griffin leaped over the popular D-segment saloon to win the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Competition. 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 hybrid.
WCC customized the car with an orange paint scheme, 20 inch flat black wheels and Griffin's personal logo. Inside, there is hardcourt flooring along with custom inserts and details. WCC installed a new audio system along with a Microsoft XBOX and even a basketball hoop on the trunk for fun.
The golf-themed "Hole in One" Soul was inspired by Michelle Wie, Kia's official golf ambassador. WCC customized her soul with a blue paint scheme and 20 inch wheels. Inside, the Soul gets custom artwork and accents, while entertainment is taken care of a 26-inch LED monitor, XBOX and Microsoft's Kinect system.Two of Wie's tournament-used golf bags are mounted behind the TV and conceal eight-inch speakers and a subwoofer.
"Retro Surf" Rio 5-Door & "Hat Trick" Forte 5-Door
For the Kia Rio and Forte, Kia has partnered with Antenna. Their first creation is the Retro Surf Rio 5-door, a custom car that is fitted with everything the modern-day surfer needs including an authentic Grain wood surfboard mounted on the roof.
The Rio has been lowered with a modified suspension set-up for sportier handling, along with a set 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 dual exhausts in the middle.
At the back is 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.
For the Forte, Antenna customized the car according to a hockey player's needs with the Hat Trick Forte 5-door. A custom hockey stick holder stretches from the trunk through the center of the vehicle into the cabin, wile the rear bench has been converted with two bucket seats with custom upholstery and there are custom-molded sports bottle drink holders in the center console.
Rubberized 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 fiber accents and LED "hockey stick" fog lights, a quad-tipped exhaust, a carbon fiber roof and a lowered suspension.
Rio 5-Door B-Spec Racer
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. The B-Spec kit on the Rio costs approximately $14,000 from Kinetic Motorsports. The kit supplies everything needed to transform the Rio from street car to race car. Parts included in the package are a roll cage kit, racing seat, quick-release steering wheel, racing harness, shocks, lightweight wheels, spec-series tires and oil sump pan expansion kit along with complete build instructions. If preferred, the racer can have the team at Kinetic Motorsports assemble the Rio at their shop in Buford, Georgia for an additional cost.
USTCC Optima Hybrid Pace Car
Kia will return to the track with the USTCC in 2012 with the Optima Hybrid replacing the Soul at the front of the pack as the safety car. The USTCC Safety Car will lead the racing field during warm-up and caution flag laps to ensure a safe start and restarts of each race.
The Optima Hybrid has a few performance enhancements from GoGoGear.com including a free-flow air intake system, a Magnaflow exhaust system, coil-over suspension kit to lower the ride height, front splitter and rear wing, lightweight wheels and performance tires.
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.
Kia's USTCC Safety Car goes into action in March at the first race of the season.