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Kia design matures

Grown up: The design direction of the new-generation Rio hatch has shifted to a more sedate look compared with the previous version.

Eye-catching design of previous-generation Kias to make way for sporty, mature look

Kia logo9 Mar 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

KIA is adopting a more mature design aesthetic for its next-generation of models after establishing a fresh corporate identity and transforming the brand under former design director and now Kia Motors president and chief design officer Peter Schreyer.

Discussing the look of the recently launched third-generation Rio light hatch, Kia Motors Europe chief designer Gregory Guillaume said the company had decided to take a more “mature” approach to design after taking a bold step forward with the 2010 Sportage and 2011 Optima.

“The consensus was, (with) this generation Rio, to take it in a slightly more mature direction. It goes a little bit with our strategy at the moment, similar with Picanto, to try to give as much as we can to the customer for the segment he is in, to give him the feeling that he is getting a bigger car, a car from the segment above,” Mr Guillaume told Australian journalists in Geneva this week.

“So that’s why we went for this kind of proportion, because Rio before had a very cab-forward … very expressive design.

 center imageLeft: Kia Motors Europe chief designer Gregory Guillaume

“This one is more self-confident, it knows it is a good-looking car, that it is a good car, it doesn’t have to shout it. We played with more cabin at the back, longer hood. We tried to deliver on quality.”

Mr Guillaume said the next-generation version of the European-market Cee’d small car would feature a new design that also gives the car a more mature look and feel.

“There will be a big change with next Cee’d. Each car in each time in the line-up is playing a certain role where you are trying to develop the brand.

Different roles need to play at different times in the strategy,” he said.

“It is the big picture you have to have in mind. The next Cee’d is finished and I am very happy. I would say as well it is very sporty but in a more self-confident, mature way.” When asked if Kia could maintain the momentum of its sister brand Hyundai in terms of design, Mr Guillaume said Kia would not follow its path by introducing sporty or premium sub-brands.

“We never really think about Hyundai, to be honest. There is enough competition out there to be competing with the sister brand,” he said.

“I usually discover what they are doing the same time as you. I don’t get a sneak peek. I know the overall strategy and what they should be doing I know what I am supposed to be doing.

“I know that we have no goals for a sporty sub-brand, we have also no goals to do a premium sub-brand. We believe that Kia as a brand is elastic or flexible enough to be able to deliver a car like the Picanto, like the Stinger, like Sorento and it is actually more beneficial for the brand itself.”

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