Kia’s logo is so confusing that 30K people search for “KN Car” on Google every month
Kia opted to move the brand into the twenty-first century last year. And it did so by redesigning its logo to be more modern—gone is the old circular emblem, and in comes the new appearance. There’s only one problem: no one can manage to read it in a car.
According to search engine trend statistics, almost 30,000 people in the United States are actively attempting to figure out what the “KN car” is…every single month.
Ashwinn Krishnaswamy first mentioned this intriguing data on Twitter. Ashwinn noted a significant increase in persons searching for “KN vehicle” on ahrefs around March 2021, just a few months after the announcement of a new logo got public. That was also around the time that the rebadged Kia Stinger was on the market, so people started seeing Kias with the new emblem on the road, blissfully oblivious to what they were.
It isn’t simply the Stinger. As you can see from the linked searches above, individuals get the car model right (for example, the excellent Kia Carnival minivan), but they can’t pick out the automaker’s name from the logo.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you, Google Trends reveals a similar-timed increase in searches for the same topic.
If Kia truly wanted to solve its logo identification problem, it could make a few design compromises to help clear up the confusion.
However, there is one advantage. The search engine Gods appear to have accepted the mistake, for if you Google “KN Car,” the top result is Kia—Bing and DuckDuckGo rank Kia slightly lower, but still on the front page. In fact, one might claim that Kia understood precisely what it was doing and welcomed the logo style in order to profit from keyword misspelling marketing. Not only did the brand transform the design of its vehicles to the point that consumers couldn’t tell a Kia from a wholly imaginary car brand, but it also elevated its image from a bargain basement to a household brand.