Cor Baltus - General director KIA Motors Netherlands BV

March 10, 2010

KIA has been a sponsor of foreign skaters for a long time. How did this come about?
I think we started in 2003, by giving support to the Korean skaters. Marnix had just started becoming actively busy with At the time KIA was an upcoming make and we did not actually have a chance of sponsoring well known Dutch athletes. Marnix came with the idea of supporting the Koreans and not much later also other foreign skaters. Together we attacked the set order of the skating and automotive establishment. It was a perfect match. We are the fastest growing car make in the Dutch market. In the past year we sold 17.000 cars. Despite the recession elsewhere we had a worldwide growth rate of 30 percent in 2010. In the meantime KIA has become active in 177 countries and we have sold two million cars.

Why has KIA become the eponym of the Speed Skating Academy?
"I see it as a logical next step in our collaboration. We have now been working together with Marnix for eight years and from the start it has yielded profit. The successes of his skaters have also been noticed by the directors of KIA. Seeing the Korean athletes' success KIA Motors Corporation wanted us to continue our collaboration with Sport Navigator. Due to the marketing power of the athletes supported by KIA in the Korean home market, KMC also contributes to the support of the KIA Speed Skating Academy. I see it again as a sign of the international appreciation that Sport Navigator and Kia Motors Netherlands have built up during the many years of their successful collaboration. Marnix' timing, when he came for the title sponsoring of the skaters training academy, was simply brilliant. Because Tae-Bum Mo, Sang-Hwa Lee and Seung-Hoon Lee came back from Vancouver unexpectedly with gold medals. All the medallists were given a KIA as a present. The directors of the concern are more than satisfied."

What is the importance of the KIA Speed Skating Academy?
"That foreign skaters gain a fully fledged position in the skating establishment. See it like this, when KIA started with Marnix, we were looked at dubiously. The KNSB, the sport marketing agencies and other sponsors were indignant. We were accused of ambush marketing, of the cheap exploitation of logos on skating suits. That was also disturbing for us. Fortunately that has gradually changed completely. We now have the sympathy of the ISU, just to mention something."

"Inzell also offers excellent facilities to countries that are just starting in skating. The skating sport as a whole can take advantage of this and as a vehicle make we gladly support it."

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Cor Baltus - KIA


Cor Baltus
General director KIA Motors Netherlands BV

Corridor 25
3621 ZA Breukelen
The Netherlands