Kia Motors America Introduces Artificial-Intelligence Powered Virtual Assistant

Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant – named “Kian” – programmed to guide consumers through the robust shopping experience traditionally by Kia.com. The intelligent assistant can be found on the Kia Facebook Messenger page and will soon also be available on its website, Kia.com.

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Kia, together with CarLabs, a marketing-tech and conversational commerce platform provider, and its digital agency Ansible, created this a comprehensive chatbot experience for its full automotive model line-up. In addition to features found in the model-specific NiroBot, Kian will allow shoppers to research pricing, estimate payments, learn about special offers, view photos and videos, compare against the competition, search vehicle inventory and find nearby dealers all through a mobile-native conversation on Facebook Messenger. Kian will also help shoppers find their match by answering a series of simple questions. Kian’s sophisticated natural language processing ability also allows shoppers to ask specific questions on hundreds of topics. Shoppers can do all of this without leaving the Facebook Messenger platform and have the option to seamlessly connect with Kia’s Consumer Affairs or live chat representative.

Kian provides a mobile-first shopping experience that feels like a conversation with a human automotive expert, only smarter, because it instantly analyses millions of vehicle data points, aggregated and organized in a data stack, that acts as Kian’s brain. Now every car shopper will feel as if they are texting directly with a digital Kia assistant to get answers on all of Kia’s world-class models. Kian is designed as a follow up to the company’s popular NiroBot to simplify the car shopping and buying process and make it more enjoyable.

KMA is expanding its use of chatbot technology based on the success of the NiroBot, which launched in November of 2016, and in approximately one year on the market has realized more than 875,000 engagements from more than 33,000 consumers with more than 22,000 Niro crossovers sold to date.

“In our ever-changing digital world, Kian is programmed to understand individual customer needs and then provide shopping decision support instantly and intuitively,” said Saad Chehab, vice president, marketing communications, Kia Motors America. “Shoppers and Kia owners can chat with Kian on their own time, with no pressure and on the mobile messaging platform they use the most.”

Kian consists of tools that understand and can respond to natural language and is coupled with the industry’s most comprehensive automotive database. It also has a sophisticated analytics engine that optimizes the experience based on user input and data. The CarLabs’ platform enables Kian to answer questions contextually in a conversation.

Kian can answer questions like:

  • Show me a SUV that gets at least 25 miles per gallon in the city.
  • Show me the current inventory at my local Kia dealer.
  • Does the 2017 Cadenza have more horsepower than the 2017 Acura TLX?
  • What’s the starting price of the Forte?
  • Show me Kia vehicles that seat seven people.
  • What’s the MPG of the Optima Hybrid?

“As more shoppers use the system, it learns to anticipate questions, provides more specific answers and gets smarter over time,” said Martin Schmitt, CEO and Co-Founder of CarLabs, Inc. “Having access to that level of shopper data is a powerful tool for understanding and serving customers better than previously possible.”