The goal is to develop an advanced business model for ride-hailing services to reshape the mobility industry.
Kia's top executives, including President and CEO Ho Sung Song, joined Kakao Mobility CEO Alex Ryu at Kia's headquarters in Seoul to sign the agreement.
The partnership will leverage Kia's vehicle manufacturing capabilities and Kakao Mobility's software expertise to create a new generation of purpose-built vehicles (PBVs).
The PBVs will be uniquely designed to meet the needs of Kakao Mobility's ride-hailing services, utilizing extensive vehicle operating data.
The goal is to create customer-centric mobility solutions that enhance the interaction between in-vehicle infotainment and software platforms.
The first models of these specialized vehicles are expected to be launched in 2025.
The operational data collected will be used to tailor the services and incorporated into future iterations of Kia's dedicated PBVs.
Kia also intends to integrate solutions developed through this collaboration into its future PBV models.
"We are confident that the collaboration will create optimal synergies through Kia's mobility technologies...and Kakao Mobility's software and platform expertise," said CEO Song. This partnership, he added, could redefine the mobility services market and accelerate Kia's transition to a sustainable mobility solutions provider.
This ambitious collaboration aims to pioneer advanced ride-hailing models that could revolutionize the mobility services market by offering highly personalized solutions to many customers.
After establishing a standardized ride-hailing service model in South Korea, the two companies plan to expand their global reach.
They aim to expand their services into other areas, such as leasing, logistics, and transportation for passengers with special needs.
Earlier this year, Kia celebrated the opening of its new dedicated PBV plant in South Korea.
The plant, which is expected to begin mass production in the second half of 2025, will initially produce 150,000 units annually, potentially expanding in line with market trends.