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Kia has launched 'Kian', an artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant meant to offer customers an improved online shopping experienced.

Kian can be found on the Kia Facebook Messenger page and according to the South Korean automaker, it will also make its way to the Kia.com website, offering 24/7 support.

In a way, Kian is a lot like NiroBot, only better. Where the latter is model specific, Kian will actually allow shoppers to research everything from pricing, estimate payments, specific offers, make comparisons, view photos and videos, search vehicle inventory and even find nearby dealers for you.

Once shoppers are finished asking Kian a series of questions, the program's natural language processing ability will make the back-and-forth feel like a regular conversation with a human automotive expert.

"In our ever-changing digital world, Kian is programmed to understand individual customer needs and then provide shopping decision support instantly and intuitively," said the automaker's marketing VP, Saad Chehab. "Shoppers and Kia owners can chat with Kian on their own time, with no pressure and on the mobile messaging platform they use the most."

According to CarLabs, which helped Kia create their AI-powered assistant, Kian can answer questions like:

- Show me a SUV that gets at least 25 miles per gallon in the city.
- Show me the current inventory at my local Kia dealer.
- Does the 2017 Cadenza have more horsepower than the 2017 Acura TLX?
- What's the starting price of the Forte?
- Show me Kia vehicles that seat seven people.
- What's the MPG of the Optima Hybrid?

"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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