The Korea Herald


Design initiatives of Hyundai, Kia receive favorable market feedback

By Park Ga-young

Published : Dec. 19, 2016 - 18:49

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Last week, Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors won a total of four design awards at the Good Design Awards in the US.

Hyundai Ioniq, the Kia K7 -- also known as the Kia Cadenza overseas -- the Kia Telluride and Genesis’ concept car “Vision G” were among 13 vehicles awarded in the transportation category at the oldest and the most prestigious architecture and design awards. 

Genesis’ concept car “Vision G” Genesis’ concept car “Vision G”

The annual awards are given to products with creative designs in various areas jointly selected by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies. This year, roughly 900 products from 46 countries were evaluated.

This is not the first time Hyundai and Kia have received major design awards. They had also previously received the Red Dot Award and iF Product Design Award.

The group deems the wins a result of their emphasis on design as a core strategy since the mid-2000s. 

Hyundai Ioniq Hyundai Ioniq

Chung Mong-koo, the chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, stressed car design as an important factor in distinguishing a car brand, while on a visit to the company’s European Design Center in 2014. It is a logical step for the car company, as the technical gap diminishes among carmakers and customers become savvy about the styles of cars. According to consultancy J.D. Power’s survey published in June, exterior styling is the second most important factor when customers choose a new vehicle.

Starting from the mid-2000s, both Hyundai and Kia have been pushing their respective design principals: “the simplicity of straight lines” for Kia and “fluidic sculpture” for Hyundai.

Leading these principals for the past decade has been Peter Schreyer, the “father” of the Audi TT, who joined Kia in 2006.

Schreyer created Kia’s signature tiger nose grille as well as successfully led the K7 and other projects. He became one of seven Hyundai Motor Group presidents in 2013.

The launch of the Genesis in November 2015 set another milestone for the group’s design initiative. It has been aggressively recruiting global top designers.

Luc Donckerwolke, who worked as a designer for Audi and was also head of design at the Lamborghini and Seat brands, joined Hyundai in January as the head of Genesis Design.

Six months later, Lee Sang-yup, a former head of exterior and advanced design at Bentley and renowned Korean car designer, also joined as the vice president of styling at the Hyundai Design Center.

These three star designers attended the launch event of the all-new Grandeur on Dec. 1, indicating the carmakers’ commitment to design.

The company said Alexander Selipanov, a former Bugatti designer, will join the Genesis European team in January, further strengthening the company’s design team. 

By Park Ga-young (