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Kia Motors becomes 11th largest firm by market cap, mulls name change

Kia Motors has overtaken Hyundai Mobis to stand as the 11th-largest company by market capitalization in South Korea on Thursday.

According to the Korea Exchange, the carmaker’s market capitalization was 23.5 trillion won ($21.1 billion), up 6.61 percent from the day before when the market closed Wednesday.

The recent bump in market capitalization leaves behind Hyundai Mobis as Kia Motors inches toward the ranks of the top 10 players in the country’s stock market.

The last time the carmaker was among the top 10 was in June 2016.

Kia Motors posted 16.3 trillion won in sales for the third quarter, up 8.2 percent from last year, resulting in experts predicting an upward trend for the fourth quarter.

In 2012, Kia Motors was the third-largest company in terms of market capitalization, trailing only Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, before dropping in position on poor sales at home and abroad in the following years.

Meanwhile, Kia Motors confirmed Thursday that it is considering changing the company name in various ways. One of the options is to remove “Motors” to simplify it to “Kia.”

The aim is to remove the image of a manufacturer dedicated only to automobiles and accelerate the transition to a future mobility service company, according to industry watchers. Kia is also pushing for an emblem change.

Park Han-woo, former president of Kia Motors, had said in January, “We will push for fundamental innovation in all fields such as brand identity, corporate image, design direction and user experience so that customers can sympathize with the change.”

But Kia’s labor union is reportedly protesting the name change, fearing that a shift to electric vehicles would bring a decline in employment.

By Yim Hyun-su (