This year the Australian Open and Kia Motors are celebrating 15 years as one of the most recognisable sporting/corporate relationships in Australia.
Since partnering with the Australian Open, Kia is now almost as sought after in the tennis scene as Nick Kyrgios' hairdresser – although we're yet to see many pink and yellow Kia's.
Being January, of course we'll be seeing Kia courtside, so we decided to take a trip down memory lane and see if Kia's range has aged as well as Pat Rafter.
In the year that saw Agassi withdraw last-minute and Thomas Johansson rise to claim the crown, the Kia Carnival was making its mark on the Primary School scene as it carted half the schoolyard to class with a family-focused, spacious design.
The Open: It was the 90th year of the Australian Open and was certainly a memorable one for Thomas Johansson. He took on Marat Safin and won his first and only career Grand Slam title. For the ladies, Jennifer Capriati went back-to-back when she beat Martina Hingis in the final. It was a year to forget, however, for first-seed Lleyton Hewitt who was booted out in his first match against a little known Spaniard, Alberto Martin.
The Kia: Someone who had a better 2002 than Hewitt was one of the best-selling people movers in Australia. The Kia Carnival is an 8-seater car/bus mash-up that was in high demand from many families Australia-wide. It's practicality for Saturday morning sport runs and family holidays combined with its roomy interior and removable seats cemented it as the go-to people mover for the suburban dwellers. This was also the first time that Kia sponsored the Australian Open– replacing its rival, Ford.
The Open: Roger Federer and Serena Williams were both at the top of their game in '07 (some things never change!) and they both pocketed a respectable $1.28m each for their respective wins in the Singles Finals. The players had to battle more than just the player on the other side of the net to make it through a game, however. With the thermometer soaring well past 40-degrees, the Extreme-Heat Policy brought with it delays-aplenty on Day 2. Of course, by Day 3, Marat Safin's game was delayed by rain – only in Melbourne.
The Kia: Although Federer and Williams may not have been on a budget when they went to buy their next car, the 2007 Kia Rio was one of the most popular vehicles for money-conscious buyers. It was reviewed as the best value-for-money car in Australia, for those opting for reliability rather than flare. The Kia Rio's star power continued to increase from 2007, winning Carsales' People's Choice award and People's Choice First Car awards in 2012, and the RACV award for Best Light Car Under $20,000 in 2011.
It was the year that brought us #TwirlGate – 2015 was one of the biggest in the history of the Australian Open. Criticism came when commentators begun asking female players to 'twirl' in a post-match interview to show off their outfits. Kia released their mould-breaking SUV, and there was $3.1m in prize money for the winner. The heat was on in more ways than one during the 2015 Australian Open.
The Open: With past-champion, Li Na, retiring from tennis in 2014, the women's title was up for grabs. Serena Williams took up the challenge and claimed the crown. Williams came out on top, winning a record sixth title in a quick two-setter against Maria Sharapova.
In the men's draw, with Australian stalwart Lleyton Hewitt out in the second round, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic had the expectations of Australia on them to take out the Open. Tomic made it to the 4th round, and Kyrgios to the quarterfinals – but there was no standing in the way of Novak Djokovic, who took out his fifth Australian Open title, beating Andy 'Always the Bridesmaid Never the Bride' Murray in the final.
The Kia: On the motoring scene, 2015 was the year for the Kia Sorento to shine. Kia was back with a vengeance this year, sticking it to the other SUVs that have previously outsold it on Aussie shores. With a bigger, sleeker model and its best interior to date, the Sorento is Kia's strongest competitor yet. Kia is expected to sell over 33,000 cars in 2015– a best-ever for the brand - and by taking out the Drive's Best Family SUV award for the fourth year in a row, Kia has certainly brought out the big guns.
Kia and the Australian Open are the hottest topics this summer. If you're on the road to getting a new Kia, or any new car this summer, give us a call on 1300 STRATTON (1300 787 288) or get an online quote before you get started.
Or if you're heading to the car yards, ask to speak with our car buying partner, carconnect. They compare vehicles from a range of dealers to find you the best possible pricing.