Asia Motors Rocsta

Car of the Day #137: Asia Motors Rocsta – an endearingly alt jeep

Asia Motors Rocsta
One of the original press images for export markets • via Asia Motors

This is not a Jeep Wrangler.

It's an off-road SUV by Asia Motors, one of the first Korean auto manufacturers. In 1964, it began by assembling Fiat 124s under license, and quickly branched out into manufacturing just about every vehicle type, from a catalogue of designs sourced from elsewhere.

During the country's rapid economic expansion from the 1960s to the 1990s, a big part of the South Korean government's economic ambitions revolved around exports. Asia Motors, one of the smaller brands, wasn't able to meet conditions of what the government had in mind for a low-cost car, and was purchased by Kia in 1973. After that, Hyundai then tied up with Kia, as we all know.

Next we fast forward to 1990, less than 10 years before Asia Motors itself was axed. 

At that time, Kia was under contract to produce a suitable 'jeep' for the South Korean military, but somehow had the masterstroke to have Asia Motors sell the low volume machine to civilians. Like so:

Ah, marketing copywriting. Seems easy…is not.