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New Look for Kia Sorento

Little hatchback borrows cues from edgy Cross GT concept.

by on Aug.13, 2014

Kia's new version of the Sorento will be longer, lower -- and a lot more stylish.

When the last generation Kia Sorento came out, the Korean carmaker seemed content to settle for me-too styling that was easily lost in the crowd.  Today, Kia has adopted a much more edgy and distinctive design language that’s readily apparent in these advance images of the next-generation sport-utility vehicle.

Set to make its formal debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, the new Sorento is lower and longer, with additional space for passengers in all three rows, the maker promises. And it certainly won’t be lost in a crowded parking lot anymore, the new crossover model clearly showing the influence of not only other recent models, such as the K900 luxury sedan, but also the Cross GT show car that signaled the new brand styling theme.

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“While we have retained the name based on the tremendous success of the outgoing model, the all-new Sorento has been completely redesigned and re-engineered,” said Soon-Nam Lee, vice president of Kia overseas marketing, “and promises to surprise customers with its thoroughly updated styling, a host of new convenience and safety technologies, as well as enhanced space, driving comfort and handling response.”

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Kia Generating Buzz with Stinger Concept

GT4 2+2 sports car is a daily driver doubling as a track star.

by on Jan.13, 2014

Kia's GT4 Stinger concept is designed to be a daily commuter and a track-ready beast. Photo credit: Len Katz.

Strong design has been the foundation of Kia’s growth in the past few years. While he has moved upstairs to a new job that put him in charge of design at both Kia and Hyundai, Peter Schreyer remains one of the industry’s influential designers and he is encouraging his designers around the world to build on the company’s design success.

For the North American International Auto Show, Kia debuted a lightweight concept car: the GT4 Stinger. The concept suggests that Kia’s management is thinking about building a sport car that could put a halo around the brand as a companion to the new Kia 900 luxury car unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto in November.

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Kia designers from the company’s U.S. studio in Irvine, Calif., said the GT4 hearkens back to the glory days of purebred, affordable sports cars. The design language moves in a new direction, while the concept pushes the boundaries of performance with a rear-drive 2+2 sports car, where Kia has made a substantial investment developing a racing team to challenge competitors, such as Mazda.  (more…)

Evolving Design: Peter Schreyer Hopes to Reshape Kia and Hyundai

German stylist wants to connect the dots between art and design.

by on Feb.14, 2013

Kia President Peter Schreyer now oversees Hyundai design, as well.

Korea’s business community is a close-knit – some would say xenophobic group. So, it came as a shock when, last month, top executives at the massive Hyundai Group — which includes both Hyundai and Kia — did something unheard of, placing a large chunk of responsibility for the company’s future in the hands of an outsider.

Then again, German Peter Schreyer, had already shown how he could transform the once-stodgy Kia brand into a global trend-setter.

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“I think (my) role is definitely changing,” was the decidedly understated way Peter Schreyer opened a conversation about his new role as one of three Kia presidents. “I think it can help make the design organization stronger,” Schreyer said of his new position during a conversation at the Chicago Auto Show after unveiling both the Kia Forte 5-door hatchback and the edgy Cross GT Concept.

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First Look: 2014 Kia Forte

German design for a Korean compact.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Former Audi design chief's latest work for Kia is the new 2014 Forte sedan.

With the introduction of the 2014 Forte, Kia reveals the continuing shift from generic styling to a distinctly European look that has helped it draw in a wave of new buyers in recent years.

Longer, wider and lower than the previous Forte, the new sedan bears the distinctive touch of Peter Schreyer, the former Audi design chief who joined the Korean carmaker in 2006. His work on such models as the latest Kia Optima have won kudos for both the maker and its styling chief – and helped make the Forte one of the most eagerly anticipated debuts during a crowded 2012 LA Auto Show.

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“The all-new Forte significantly raises the bar, offering upscale amenities and eye-catching appeal,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing & communications, KMA. “When you combine exclusive available features like a ventilated driver’s seat and UVO eServices in a car with such an attractive design, it’s very clear the all-new Forte sets a new standard for the compact segment.”

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Kia Nabs Design Awards

More feathers for design chief Schreyer's bonnet.

by on Jul.06, 2012

The new Kia Rio lands a double accolade.

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.

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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.

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First Look: Kia Track’ster Concept

Koreans go California dreaming.

by on Feb.02, 2012

A hint of the next Kia Soul?

It’s no surprise when folks go California dreaming during the middle of a Midwest Winter. But Kia has something substantial to show for its efforts – in the form of the new Track’ster Concept it plans to unveil at next week’s Chicago Auto Show.

Might we be getting a hint of the next-generation Kia Soul as we look at this preliminary sketch which teases the prototype designed at Kia’s advanced design studio in Southern California?  Very possibly, if this statement from the maker is any indication.

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“The Track’ster is the California design team’s dream of what a performance-inspired Soul could be. If Soul is our rock star, Track’ster is its heavy metal companion. The idea behind Track’ster was to build a thought-provoking concept about what the Soul could someday be.”

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First Look: Kia Cee’d

Official debut set for Geneva.

by on Jan.13, 2012

An all-new Kia Cee'd will debut at Geneva.

Few manufacturers have done a more dramatic about-face in the styling studio than Kia.  Long disdained for its boring, lack-luster designs it is now a dramatic trend-setter, as witness the kudos generated for the latest version of the Korean carmaker’s midsize Optima.

Credit goes, to the large degree, to Peter Schreyer, the former Audi penman who joined Kia a few years back and has aggressively transformed its look.  And as witness to that new direction just consider this shot of the next-generation Kia Cee’d, the C-segment hatchback the maker will be updating this year, with its launch scheduled for the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

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The new look “immediately gets your attention,” suggests a Kia release accompanying this teaser shot, adding that the “new Kia Cee’d combines styling typically found on a sporty coupé with the space and functionality of a five-door hatch.”

Until Geneva – or, at least, until the maker offers up some interior shots, we’ll have to settle for Kia’s word that the interior features a “driver oriented dashboard” with “a strong focus on quality of materials.”

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Hyundai Snatches Design Chief from BMW

Underscores Korean maker’s styling shift.

by on Dec.28, 2011

Long-time BMW designer Chris Chapman will now head Hyundai's California design center.

Hyundai has pulled off a styling coup.  The maker has snatched Christopher Chapman, one of BMW’s more promising designers – to head the Korean maker’s Design Center in Irvine, California.

Chapman replaces Philip Zak, who left Hyundai last spring to rejoin the General Motors’ design staff. In his new position, Chapman will be responsible for new vehicle and concept designs for Hyundai – which has built much of its recent rise on cutting-edge styling with products like the midsize Sonata and compact Elantra.

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“With over 22 years of experience in the industry working on esteemed automotive brands, Chris provides a level of talent that will help further our design portfolio,” said Suk Geun Oh, Head of Design, Senior Executive Vice President Hyundai Design Center.

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Can Kia Reinvent the Van?

Maker offers a tease of its KV7 concept.

by on Jan.07, 2011

Is Kia readying a new minivan based on the KV7 concept debuting at the Detroit Auto Show?

Reports of the minivan’s demise have been greatly exaggerated and, if anything, the proliferation of new product, such as the all-new Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, and updates of the Chrysler vans, have started pumping new life into the niche.

But other players continue to find it a hard slog to carve out share of their own.  Just ask General Motors, Ford – and the Koreans, who haven’t done very well with their initial attempts to gain traction in the minivan market.

With segment sales still topping 1 million and showing signs of a modest rebound, Kia is ready to give it another try.  Or so it hints.  The smaller of the two Korean carmakers is offering up this less-than-revealing tease of the KV7 concept, which it plans to reveal during its Monday afternoon news conference at the Detroit Auto Show.

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