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Designer Schreyer becomes Kia president

Upstairs: Kia designer Peter Schreyer is expected to continue to guide Kia’s styling revolution, despite being appointed president.

German Peter Schreyer becomes first non-Korean president at Kia Motors

31 Dec 2012

THE designer who reshaped Kia into one of the world’s most stylish car companies has been rewarded with one of three presidencies at the South Korean motor company.

German-born, Frankfurt-based Peter Schreyer, 59, becomes the first non-Korean to hold the title at Kia where he has been chief design officer since switching over from Volkswagen Group in 2006.

Although Kia has not spelled out Mr Schreyer’s exact job description at his new post, he is expected to retain his place at the helm of Kia’s design team and its styling centres in Germany, South Korea and California.

The media release announcing the promotion said Mr Schreyer had “publicly commented on his commitment to Kia and his desire to remain with the company to continue the challenge of making Kia the most design-focused Korean car manufacturer”.

Famous for Audi and Volkswagen models such as the Audi TT, Volkswagen New Beetle and Passat, Mr Schreyer came up with the so-called ‘tiger nose’ grille family look that has given Kia vehicles their own distinctive identity over the past several years.

His design efforts on cars such as the Sportage, Optima, Sorento and Rio have made Kia one of the fastest-growing car brands, with global sales up more than 10 per cent in 2012.

Kia, which is 34 per cent owned by fellow Korean motor company Hyundai, is expected to sell about 2.7 million vehicles in 2012.

In Australia, Kia sales have grown by almost 25 per cent in 2012 on the back of new models such as the Optima and Sorento, and is expecting another kick along in 2013 with the arrival of the all-new Cerato – Kia’s top-selling model in Australia – and the latest Rondo compact people-mover.

Mr Schreyer, a quietly-spoken family man who paints in his spare time, has also become well-known for his own sense of style, wearing all-black clothing and trademark black-rimmed glasses.

Although Mr Schreyer has been named as a president of Kia Motors Corp, overall control of the company is retained by vice chairman and CEO Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee, who in turn reports to Hyundai Kia chairman Chung Mong Koo.

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