Both brands will work towards greater design differentiation, says design boss
2 October 2013

Hyundai and Kia will explore different designs which will give them greater differentiation in the market.

That's according to new global design chief for the brands Peter Schreyer, who says the new designs will begin to emerge "in two to three years' time".

He believes cars from the two sister brands “should be separated more, and we’ll get a wider range”. Schreyer cites the example of the platform-sharing Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3, which appeal to very different customers.

“We also need a difference in content,” he said. By that, he means that Hyundais and Kias should also be separated by their features and functionality. “Kia has got a strong direction, so why should we change?” he said. But Hyundai “will change”.

Hyundai’s ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language “will evolve more”, he said. “But it only deals with the car’s surface, not its proportions. Other things define the car as well, like window graphics.

“We’ll pick out the good things and make a stronger family feel. Like Kia, we’ll create a typical design, and it will look like it everywhere in the world. It’s a complex product range but we have to make a hierarchy.”

Among those good things are “quality, our kind of style and a front face design that’s been there all along. Hyundai had a hexagonal grille a while ago. We’ll find another twist to the grille to make it unique”.

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2 October 2013

Peter Schreyer has done wonders for Kia's design, and at a time when their quality was improving by leaps and bounds.

It is only my humble opinion, but to my eyes the Kia Optima is one of the most attractive saloons available at any price.

I'm less impressed with Hyundai's design- blobs with overly busy grills and surfaces. Hopefully Schreyer will work his magic there as he did with Kia

2 October 2013

It makes perfect sense, I see similarities already. Kia mimics VW's grill and Hyundai mimics Audi happy face grill. Koreans just know how to copy designs, I guess every man got to eat.

2 October 2013

From Wikipedia:

In 1980, Schreyer began working with Audi in exterior, interior and conceptual design. In 1991, he moved to the company's design studio in California, USA. He returned to the Audi Design Concept Studio in 1992 and moved to Volkswagen's exterior design department in 1993. In 2006, Kia hired Schreyer as Chief Design Officer.

2 October 2013

I already thought there was a difference, especially in the last year or so, Kia going after a more youthful market, Hyundai remaining the pensioners car of choice.

2 October 2013

It's been obvious for years, as the various Kia models migrated onto Hyundai platforms, that the two ranges were competing primarily against each other - which is never good economics.

I don't know if it's Peter Schreyer or the press, but there's seems a total over-emphasis on Kia's "tiger" grill defining the brand - which is nonsense, it takes a lot more than a common grill to define a brand.

It'll be interesting to see whether Hyundai go back to making a proper SUV - the Terracan filled that role long ago, with the 2006 Santa Fe stepping up to replace it quite respectably - but the 2013 Santa Fe has been emasculated by lowering and marketed as a pure crossover.

2 October 2013

I'd have thought it more important, like VW and Audi, to use the two brands to address different, rather than the same markets. As far as I can see, a key competitor to each Kia is a Hyundai and vice versa. As with Peugeot and Citroen, it's difficult to tell which of the brands sits higher and lower in the market, so it must be hard to distinguish them on price and market perception.

No denying that they're very successful based on pricing and quality. However, they seems to be addressing rather trivial issues, so it will be interesting to see what changes they will make in measurable ways to Hyundai.

Personally, they both seem equally unappealing but no doubt good buys for those looking for these sorts of products.

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