Media guests, bloggers and influencers were recently invited to travel through Hungary and Slovakia on the Kia x JBL Sound Tour, an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience of the two brands’ sound-filled partnership. Organized from July 2-4, the Sound Tour highlighted the longstanding relationship between Kia Motors and HARMAN with an elevated JBL music activation, a scenic press drive and a multi-factory visit, offering participants an up-close look at the Kia Ceed and the personal concert experience that it offers thanks to powerful and bold JBL sound.
The Kia x JBL Sound Tour started with, “The Sound of Budapest,” featuring an authentic Hungarian dinner and music provided by a local jazz band. The restaurant was transformed for the occasion into a Kia x JBL Pop Up Festival with branded lounge furniture and JBL Professional sound equipment. Open to the public, the event attracted a large local crowd who enjoyed the entertaining atmosphere and festive Budapest summer vibe.
The following day, guests were invited to embark on the first segment of the Sound Tour in the Kia ProCeed GT, Ceed GT and Ceed Sportswagon, all equipped with premium sound by JBL, traveling from Budapest to Székesfehérvár. Welcomed by Istvan Kis, Vice President, Hungary Operations and General Management, media visited HARMAN’s production site. Established in 1996, HARMAN´s new acoustics plant was opened in Székesfehérvár in 2015 in which 630 employees assemble approximately 11 million loudspeakers and 17 million microphones each year for a variety of HARMAN OEM customers and HARMAN branded products.
Founded in 2015 and located 60 kilometers southwest of Budapest, the factory is one of seven plants owned by HARMAN, employing 30,000 people worldwide.
HARMAN Acoustic Systems Engineer Andreas Fritsch and Plant Director of the HARMAN Székesfehérvár 2 Acoustic Site, Peter Vanyi, led a fascinating workshop giving expert insight into the JBL sound systems built within the Kia Ceed and delved into the details of what makes the JBL sound experience so special. Participants learned all about the Ceed’s eight JBL high-performance loudspeakers, 320-watt amplifier and integrated Clari-Fi™ audio reconstruction technology, which works in real-time to rebuild audio details lost in digitally compressed music, automatically analyzing and improving the audio quality of all types of compressed, digital music sources in order to deliver a rich, uncompromised listening experience each and every time.
The workshop was followed by a Kia Ceed Subwoofer Competition, in which media guests were divided into groups and provided with tools and instructions to assemble a Kia Ceed Subwoofer. The winning team took their Subwoofer into the production area where it successfully passed a quality test at the cell station.
Following the workshop and competition, participants continued the Kia x JBL Sound Tour through the breathtaking scenery of Low Tatras National Park, with photo stops along the way, to Žilina, Slovakia. The next day brought a behind the scenes look at Kia supplier MOBIS, one of Korea's largest automotive suppliers in charge of completing 4 types of auto-modules including the instrument panel module for the Kia Ceed family, followed by a factory visit of the Kia plant in Zilina, where 3,800 employees produce up to 350,000 cars annually in a striking high-tech laboratory atmosphere.
Guests then set off on the third and final leg of the Sound Tour, which took them through Slovakia to the Vienna airport.
The Kia x JBL Sound Tour offered guests an in-depth look at the production of powerful and perfectly tuned JBL sound in the Kia Ceed. Guests gained an appreciation for the technical details and engineering feat required, as well as the challenge of craftsmanship for the people behind it and the logistics involved in the individual production facilities.
Everyone agreed that the trip was a truly unique and educational experience.
“This exhilarating and informative event offered our media guests an unprecedented look behind the scenes of one of HARMAN’s most fruitful partnerships while giving them a first-hand experience of the immersive power of JBL sound in the Kia Ceed. As a result, our guests came away with a better understanding of the passion behind the system and the value that good sound adds to the driving experience.” -Isabell Iseli, Associate Marketing Manager, Business Unit Hyundai & Kia, Lifestyle Audio Division, HARMAN.