Schreyer celebrates 10 years and unified brand  

Schreyer celebrates 10 years and unified brand  

Peter Schreyer

Peter Schreyer

Peter Schreyer is celebrating 10 years at Kia Motors as chief design officer, and his appointment as vice president for the whole Hyundai Motor Group, of which Kia is a part.

Schreyer accepted the position of chief design officer at the Korean manufacturer in 2006 and with it the task of steering the brand through a design revolution – described as one of the most significant turning points in the history of Kia Motors.

The car that is seen as epitomising the design philosophy of Schreyer and his team is the box-shaped Kia Soul, which first appeared as a motor show concept vehicle before going on sale at the end of 2008. It was among the first Kia models to wear the ‘Tigernose Grille’. The Soul foreshadowed the rise of the urban SUV, a genre that is now the most popular form of motor vehicle in the world.

Asked if he has a favourite, Schreyer says: “You know when you have more than one kid, you can never say which your favourite is. You love them all. I also do, with all the cars I’ve designed, but there is one that stands out a little bit, I must admit.”

He acknowledges that the Kia GT concept is a favourite, along with the Soul, and the recently released Europe-exclusive Optima Sportswagon.

Schreyer established a European design office for Kia Motors in Frankfurt, Germany, which then worked closely with the design centres in Korea and the US to “bring international flair and regional influences to the external and internal styling of the brand’s passenger vehicles,” he says.

Looking back on his decade with Kia, Schreyer says the most important task on joining the company was to establish a distinct and unified signature brand identity and image.

“But the story of how our new vehicles came to life is about so much more than just aesthetics. It involves intricate choices in how complex ideas work together to create something that generates an emotional response.”

These efforts eventually led to the creation of the iconic Kia face, highlighted by the various forms of the ‘Tigernose Grille’.
Schreyer also emphasises how his principal design philosophy, ‘the simplicity of the straight line,’ draws from Korean influences and takes inspiration from different elements of Korean culture, such as architecture, art and music.

He says: “For us designers, it’s important to not only look at cars, but to be interested in architecture, art, music, industrial design…all sorts of things. They are influencing us and we are influencing them.”

Schreyer and his team have used concept vehicles over the years to foretell the future direction of Kia’s design language.

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