Kia Names Ex-Audi Designer its First Foreign President image

Peter Schreyer, the former Audi designer, was named the first foreign president of Kia Motors.

Peter Schreyer joined Kia in 2006, after he left Volkswagen, where he served as chief design officer. Today, December 28th, Schreyer was named Kia’s executive vice president, a clear sign that Kia and Hyundai plan to surpass rivals BMW and VW in design.

Naming a foreign president is part of the automakers’ next phase of their branding transformation, a strategy which has helped Hyundai and Kia boost sales and gain market share even during the 2009 global economic downturn.

“I thought I wanted to give Kia a character and a family feel… If you come to a country and you see a Kia, you should recognize it immediately, like you recognize a BMW or Mercedes immediately,” said Schreyer during an interview in March.

Since he joined the company, Schreyer managed to change Kia models design and offer them a distinct face ranging from the small Picanto to the Forte and Optima sedans. Still, according to the automaker ‘Kia is in a situation where Audi was 30 years ago.’ This means there is a lot of work ahead and its technology still needs improvement.

“BMW is famous for engines. This is the core of BMW, the path they will not leave. They’re investing a lot in technology,” Schreyer said.