As the rumors of the past week filter through, Peter Schreyer of Volkswagen/Audi fame is leaving the German company and heading to Kia to head up the Kia Global Design Operation. For Kia, this must be the coup of the century giving them the much needed credibility that is always hard to deliver in an environment of heavy weight car manufacturers. Kia’s quality and design language has improved dramatically over the last five years and couple this with a ten year warranty and market beating prices it’s hard to find a better deal. Now with Peter coming on board, his experience of Volkswagen’s no nonsense approach to quality materials and fit and finish will no doubt propel Kia to even greater heights.
With his new position he will be influencing the future design philosophy for Kia which can only have the competition more than a little concerned. I should imagine that we will be seeing a bolder more masculine looking Kia in the future rather than the cute Kia of today.
With the latest sales figures just released the momentum of the Korean manufacturing group Hyundai of which Kia is a part of, is in full swing, with the group enjoying a 3.7% rise in sales over the same period a year ago with July sporting a 4.5% increase in sales over the same period. With sales in an upswing what better time to bring on a new Design Chief, ensure the momentum, built confidence in the brand and pursue great new products. For me this is a totally different company to the one that I worked for in the early 90’s when it opened it’s first Design Studio in Southern California.
Today’s Kia has confidence, purpose in design and a resolve to become bigger, combine all these factors and it is only a matter of time before they will be snapping at the Japanese manufacturers heels, after all wasn’t it the same thirty years ago for domestic manufactures when Japanese cars started to make in roads to the Big 3’s domain.
Peter’s pedigree is unquestionable, graduating from the Royal College of Art in London, England, with a “Master of Transportation” design degree, chief designer for Audi, chief designer for Volkswagen. Worked on renown vehicles of today such as the Audi TT and the Audi A6, all in all Kia must be looking to the future with great anticipation.