The Korea Herald


Ex-BMW designer joins Kia as exterior styling chief

By Yu Ji-soo

Published : June 5, 2023 - 14:37

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John Buckingham (Kia) John Buckingham (Kia)

South Korea’s second-biggest carmaker Kia said Monday it has appointed John Buckingham, a UK veteran automotive designer, as the exterior design chief of its next design group.

Buckingham has worked in the automotive industry since 2005 when he joined BMW as an exterior designer. While working at the BMW Designworks studio in Los Angeles, he also led the design of the 8 Series concept. Then, he moved to UK luxury carmaker Bentley in 2018 and to Faraday Future, the US-based electric vehicle startup, in 2022.

The latest appointment comes after Kia rebranded its design center into Kia Global Design Center earlier this year. Under the leadership of Karim Habib, executive vice president and the center’s chief, Vice President Kim Teck-koun, a former Mercedes-Benz veteran, joined to lead the next design group which will focus on next-generation vehicles, including new electric models.

Kia said Buckingham will play a leading role in shaping the carmaker’s vision of future mobility based on its design philosophy “Opposites United.”

“I look forward to working with the hugely talented design team to help further define the brand’s Opposites United progressive design philosophy and apply this approach to the next generation of Kia vehicle exteriors,” he said in a statement.

By assembling a diverse and experienced leadership team, Kia is ramping up efforts to adjust to the rapidly changing mobility market. It aims to strengthen its future design capabilities through global talent recruitment and innovative corporate culture.

“Kia is successfully leading the EV market with our models such as EV6 and EV9, which boast innovative designs," said Kim, head of the next design group. "We expect John, who has various experiences under his belt, to contribute to the innovative design work we do at Kia Global Design Center."