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News18 » Auto
2-min read

Kia Motors Develops Kian Personal Assistant to Help Consumers to Buy a New Car

Developed in partnership with conversational commerce company CarLabs, Kia's personal assistant, Kian, is now live on Facebook Messenger and is ready to answer your questions.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:November 21, 2017, 3:55 PM IST
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Kia,Hyundai,Kia Logo
The logo of Kia Motors. (Image: Reuters)

Car companies hope that in the future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the key to bringing truly autonomous vehicles to the masses, but starting today, Kia in the US is testing whether an AI-powered personal assistant can help consumers find and purchase the car they need.

Developed in partnership with conversational commerce company CarLabs, Kia's personal assistant, Kian, is now live on Facebook Messenger and is ready to answer your questions.

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The idea is that chatting with Kian should feel just as natural as conversing with a person, only better, because while a human has to take a moment to think of an answer or put you on hold while he or she looks up a relevant piece of information on a computer, Kian has instantaneous access to millions of data points.

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Kia and its partners have worked hard on ensuring Kian is adept at natural language processing and is not confused by the sorts of questions that car shoppers are really going to ask, such as if a Kia is cheaper or has a more potent engine than a similar car from a competing company.

"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."

Kia Motors America first tested the feasibility of AI-powered chatbots in November 2016 when it rolled out the Niro crossover. Its launch was accompanied by the launch of the NiroBot, a chatbot designed to answer questions specifically on that model for US customers.

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According to Kia, since going live in the US, the NiroBot has had over 875,000 conversations with more than 33,000 consumers and in doing so has helped to sell more Niro models via what is essentially a totally new channel.

Where Kian differs is that it can field questions and queries across the entire Kia model lineup in the US and can even tell a consumer whether or not a specific vehicle is in stock at the closest Kia dealership.

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

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| Edited by: Ayushmann Chawla
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