With the latest Carnival now revealed and the upcoming Sorento III that is expected by year’s end completing the first stage of its design-led renaissance, Kia is seeking to find a middle ground between evolution and revolution when determining the look of the next-generation models.
Speaking to the Australian media at the New York International Auto Show, Kia Motors’ president of design, Peter Schreyer, admitted that maintaining consistency with a ‘premium look’ is the biggest challenge his department faces.
“We have reached a very good point and achieved a family look and a consistent feeling with our product range,” he revealed.
“And one of the important things with premium brands especially – and by that I mean the feeling when you look at our cars makes you feel very, very good – is that we need continuity and reliability in terms of what the customer expects of the next Kia: it should look like one.
“But that doesn’t mean we now change to a completely different direction; it means we keep going to make it stronger and stay with what we have.
“Still, we still have to make big steps. ‘Gentle evolution’ is a bit too gentle – but it depends on the project.”
Being in charge of both Kia and Hyundai design for over a year now, Mr Schreyer revealed that each brand has a unique identity that needs to continue to be cultivated and progressed.
“First of all the two companies are quite different, and you would not even know that they are like a brother and sister company; nobody would even talk about the similarities between them anyway,” he said.
“But I think it is important for both companies to stay with what they are and what they stand for, and Kia has a very strong direction and character while Hyundai is a little more playful, a little more spectacular – and Hyundai has made its name by doing that.
“I don’t want to change this in the opposite direction… but I think it needs to be a bit more controlled and mature. But I still think there is enough space for the two to be different.”
Mr Schreyer added that there is now a greater amount of discussion between the two brands then there has been in the past, to try and define the two brands better.
“Each of the two teams really know what they’re doing,” he said.