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Hyundai to keep ‘fluidic sculpture’: Schreyer

Focus on the pen: Peter Schreyer recently took on the role of Hyundai design chief, concurrent with his title of president of Kia.

Kia and Hyundai design chief Peter Schreyer promises to keep styling at forefront

8 Feb 2013


KIA president and newly appointed Hyundai design chief Peter Schreyer plans to retain separate and distinct styling languages for each company, stating today that he is keen to retain Hyundai’s bold and curvaceous styling theme dubbed ‘fluidic sculpture’.

Mr Schreyer, who was promoted from Kia design chief to president of the company in December before taking the additional role of Hyundai chief design officer in January, now occupies the unique position of controlling the design direction for the two related, yet distinct car-makers.

“I think that Hyundai has made some quite bold moves in design and creating a lot of attention and being successful,” he said. “So, I’m not planning on throwing that away and doing something completely different. I think it needs to be bold, and there are lots of cars in progress.

“But you need to give me a bit of time as well,” he added with a laugh.

When asked by GoAuto if this meant retaining, but refining, the fluidic sculpture design of its current German and Korean-designed range, Mr Schreyer said: “Yes, I think so.”

The German former Audi designer, long-praised for kick-starting Kia’s style-led rejuvenation in recent years, also admitted to Australia media at today’s Chicago motor show that his new dual-role would see him devote more attention to Hyundai than Kia – at least in the near future.

Hyundai and Kia still have their own separate design centres in Korea, the US and Germany, with Kia following a ‘simplicity of the straight line’ philosophy since 2006 and Hyundai the more curvaceous ‘fluidic sculpture’ launched in 2009.

“I only did Hyundai since two weeks ago, but of course I need to spend a lot of time on Hyundai because Kia I know very well and have been with for several years now,” he said.

“I think I need to put quite a lot of focus on Hyundai in the near future, but I won’t forget about Kia.

“I have a job now that concerns both and I look at both from a slightly different perspective now, and so I don’t think I can be at every motor show both companies every time.

“But I think it’s a great chance for our chief designers in the US and Korea to go around and show their stuff.”

Mr Schreyer was effusive about the ramifications of appointing a designer such a himself to a wider managerial role, stating that while he has always enjoyed a strong relationship with upper-management at Kia since he joined, he would now have more power to influence design decisions “I think it’s a great statement from Hyundai and Kia to put me or somebody else in design into this sort of position. It shows how important design is for them and what a strong drive they have to really move forward in design,” he said.

When asked if he still had time to hit roll up his sleeves and pull out his sketching pencils, he said: “I still try to devote lots of work to design ... I always sketch.”

Mr Schreyer was in Chicago for the world debut of the new Cerato hatch and the radical US-designed Cross GT SUV concept.

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