This whole recession thing has been good to Kia. Buyers have skidded away from high-riding luxury barges faster than cockroaches from a kitchen light and right into the loving arms of the Korean automaker's well-equipped, smartly priced, and newly competent products. As a result, the company has reportedly seen its net profits quadruple in the first three months of this year. Kia managed to rake in a total of $358 million dollars from January to March, compared to $88.2 million during the same period in 2009.

Much of the boost came from the fact that the company's global sales have exploded this year thanks in part to the new Sorento, Forte and Forte Koup. Kia moved 474,635 vehicles during the first-quarter of 2010 – more than 65 percent more than during the first-quarter of 2009.

[Source: Associated Press | Image: Jung Yeon-Je/Getty]