Kia isn’t the car company they were back in the mid-90s, a car company that was mostly synonymous with inexpensive—or in other words cheap econo-box. Since then, Kia has made huge leaps in the automotive world, mostly through good products, effective marketing and one of America’s longest warranties. The company has also started to expand their product line to upper-end vehicles or at least they have with their concept cars; the upper-end expansion is also spilling into their marketing.

In a move that might surprise a lot of sports and automotive enthusiasts, Kia Motor America has signed a deal with Michelle Wie and the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Wie has signed on to be the official golf ambassador and spokesperson for Kia Motors. As a Korean American and star on the LPGA circuit, the pairing makes some sense, especially when you consider how much Buick gained from endorsements from golfers like Tiger Woods and the Professional Golf Association (PGA). Kia isn’t stopping their though, they have also signed on to be the title sponsor for the “Kia Classic Presented by J Golf.”

The classic will be held on March 22 in San Diego and will also be the first stop on the LPGA U.S. Tour. Wie won’t be waiting that long to take her role as Kia spokesperson; she will begin carrying a Kia-branded golf bag for the 2010 LPGA season opener in Thailand next week. Interestingly enough, Wie won’t be appearing in advertisements for Kia Motors. Instead, Kia plans to use hospitality suites, fleets, vehicles displays and other marketing tactics to appeal to consumers.