Kia, the ambitious South Korean automaker, has walked off with two major awards in the U.S. and Germany for the design of the subcompact Rio with its sculpted, sloping shoulder lines and wedge-shaped exteriors.
The first of the two new awards came from the first IDEA Design Award in the Transportation category, the second trophy a highly coveted Red Dot Design award.
The IDEA Award is handed out by the Industrial Design Society of America and recognizes designs that affect a person’s quality of life and economy in 18 categories, including Transportation, Design, Technology, and Design Strategy.
The 2012 Red Dot Design awards are held by the Design Centre of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany and are judged on innovation, functionality, ergonomics, durability, ecological compatibility and intuitive handling. Globally, Kia has been awarded six Red Dot awards since 2009 – with the Picanto and Rio winning in 2012, Optima and Sportage winning in 2011, Venga in 2010 and the Soul in 2009.
“Since its introduction, the Rio’s striking looks inside-and-out has attracted new customers to the Kia brand with a standout combination of style, performance and modern amenities that consumers are looking for,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing & communications, Kia Motor America.
“The new Rio is the latest vehicle to emerge from Kia’s design-led transformation and represents the collaborative work of our global network of design centers in Seoul, Frankfurt and Irvine, California under the direction of chief designer Peter Schreyer.”
The 59-year-old Schreyer himself has won a raft of awards since joining the Korean maker in 2006 as its global design chief. He previously worked at Audi and was credited with such products as the A6 and A4 – as well as the New Beetle from Audi sibling Volkswagen AG.
In 2006, the German stylist was given an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art, in London, only the third automotive designer to receive that honor.
Under Schreyer Kia has gone from churning bland econoboxes to more express designs like the new Optima and the newer Rio. That model is available with a 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder with the option of either a six-speed manual transmission (LX only) or six-speed automatic. It is available in three different trim levels.