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Hyundai and Kia convertible still a designer’s dream

Eye to the future: The 2007 Kia Excee’d concept never got off the ground, but the company’s vice-president and chief designer is still keen for something like it.

Designer Peter Schreyer talks about roadsters and grand tourers for Kia/Hyundai

18 Sep 2013


KIA and Hyundai chief design officer Peter Schreyer still dreams of the day when one, or both, of the Korean companies green-light production of a topless roadster.

Speaking with GoAuto at last week’s Frankfurt motor show, Mr Schreyer said such an image-building project remained high up his wish-list, even if company bean-counters seem less enamored, considering the business case is yet to win approval.

Mr Schreyer knows a thing or two about designing sexy convertibles - he worked on the original Audi TT in his tenure at the German giant - and part of his goal for both companies is to grow their respective reputations through eye-catching design.

The affable German even hinted to us that he had a few preliminary sketches tucked away somewhere in the top drawer, befitting the car’s status as a passion project.

“This type of car I’m still trying to get some day,” he said. “I think Hyundai and Kia together are one of the only companies without a convertible in the range somewhere and if we could find something or other and open the door it could be really nice.”

 center imageLeft: 2011 Kia GT concept.

When quizzed by GoAuto if the company may approach a rival and enter into a joint-venture, a la Mazda and Alfa Romeo with their respective 2015 MX-5 and Spider models, Mr Schreyer seemed less keen.

“I don’t know, I’m a designer. But I don’t think so. I want to introduce a Kia and Hyundai one,” he said.

Both brands offer halo performance cars: Kia has the Pro_Cee’d and Koup turbos, both on their way to Australia, and Hyundai has the quirky Veloster Turbo.

Hyundai vice president Alan Rushforth told us in Germany last week that the company would also look to leverage its World Rally Championship experience to create a line of hot hatches in the near-future.

On another front, Mr Schreyer said the radical rear-drive GT grand tourer concept shown in Frankfurt in 2011 remained firmly on the cards for production some day.

“GT is still on the list. The chances are still very good,” he said.

A production GT would give Kia a high-rolling rival to premium German luxury sedan and GTs, as well as an answer to Hyundai’s own internal Genesis luxury sub-brand.

Speaking on his role within the Korean corporation – he has served as Kia’s chief designer since 2006, is now a company president, and has led Hyundai’s design team concurrently since January this year – Mr Schreyer said it was important to differentiate the two brands.

Without going into specifics, Mr Schreyer alluded to Hyundai design moving in a more premium direction, and Kia embracing its funkier, more youth-oriented position in the market.

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